Internalizing symptoms and safe sex intentions among adolescents in mental health treatment: Personal factors as mediators

The Project STYLE Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Little is known about why some adolescents with internalizing symptoms engage in sexual behaviors that increase their risk for HIV. This study tested a mediation model of internalizing symptoms and safe sex intentions among adolescents receiving mental health treatment. Self-efficacy for HIV prevention, HIV knowledge, and worry about HIV were hypothesized to mediate associations between internalizing symptoms and safe sex intentions among sexually active and non-active adolescents receiving mental health treatment (N. =. 893, M age. =. 14.9). Significant indirect effects from internalizing symptoms to safe sex intentions varied according to sexual experience: for sexually non-active adolescents, HIV worry and knowledge mediated this link, whereas for sexually active adolescents, HIV self-efficacy was the significant mediator. Increasing both HIV knowledge and self-efficacy for HIV prevention are important targets for HIV prevention with adolescents with internalizing symptoms, and careful attention should be paid towards targeting these interventions to sexually experienced and inexperienced youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume46
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • HIV prevention
  • Internalizing symptoms
  • Sexual risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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