Heterogeneity of Sexual Risk Profiles Among Juvenile Justice-Involved African American Girls

Patricia Logan-Greene, Erin W. Bascug, Ralph J. DiClemente, Dexter R. Voisin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Juvenile justice-involved African American girls are considered uniformly high-risk for adverse sexual health outcomes such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy; however, their sexual health statuses may be more complex. Objective: The present study assessed whether diverse subgroups of sexual risk exist and explored variations by socio-contextual indicators and sexual health outcomes. Method: The sample consisted of 188 detained African American adolescent girls. Six key sexual risk model indicators were selected for latent class analysis: early sex initiation, unprotected sex, high number of sex partners, sex while intoxicated, having sex with a recently incarcerated partner, and trading sex. Results: Results revealed a four-class solution: “Lowest Risk” (40.3%), with relatively low endorsement of sexual risk items; “Precocious Debut” (19.5%), with early sexual initiation and highest number of sex partners; “Delayed Risk” (30.3%), with later sexual debut but elevated unprotected sex and number of sex partners; and “Highest Risk” (9.9%), with the highest proportions on most indicators, but lower numbers of sex partners compared to Precocious Debut. Classes differed significantly on sexual health outcomes and demographic, neighborhood, peer, family, and individual factors. High Risk, Precocious Debut, and Delayed Risk were associated with greater prevalence of STIs. Lowest Risk and Precocious Debut classes had fewer prior pregnancies. Lowest Risk girls were significantly lower on a range of risk outcomes. Conclusions: Heterogeneous profiles of sexual risk may inform future prevention and interventions for at-risk or detained African American girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-677
Number of pages25
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Adolescent girls
  • African American
  • Juvenile justice
  • Latent class analysis
  • Sexual risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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