Sensation seeking and risk-taking propensity as mediators in the relationship between childhood abuse and HIV-related risk behavior

Marina A. Bornovalova, Marya A. Gwadz, Christopher Kahler, W. M. Aklin, C. W. Lejuez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Although a wealth of literature suggests that childhood physical, emotional, and sexual abuse are related to later-life HIV-related risk behaviors, few studies have explored disinhibition (e.g., impulsivity, risk-taking propensity, and sensation-seeking) as a risk factor in this relationship. Method: This cross-sectional study examined impulsivity, risk-taking propensity, and sensation seeking as mediators in the relationship between abuse history and engagement in HIV-related risk behaviors among a sample of 96 inner-city African American adolescents. Results: Findings indicated that abuse history was positively related to self-reported engagement in HIV-related risk behaviors (B = .027, SE .008, β = .32, sr2 = .105, p = .001), as well as risk-taking propensity (B = .35, SE .11, β = .30, sr2 = .090, p = .003) and sensation seeking (B = .17, SE .05, β = .35, sr2 = .124, p = .0004). Abuse history was not related to impulsivity. Further, while sensation-seeking and risk-taking propensity (to a lesser extent) mediated this relationship, impulsivity did not. Conclusions: These findings provide an initial step in the examination of the mechanisms underlying the relationship between childhood abuse and engagement in HIV-related risk behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-109
Number of pages11
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Assessment
  • Child abuse
  • HIV risk behavior
  • Risk-taking propensity
  • Sensation seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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