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Gender and racial differences in risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases among justice-involved youth

Authors Dembo R, Childs K, Belenko S, Schmeidler J, Wareham

Published 19 November 2009 Volume 2009:1 Pages 9—24


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Richard Dembo1, Kristina Childs2, Steven Belenko3, James Schmeidler4, Jennifer Wareham5

1University of South Florida, Department of Criminology, Tampa, FL, USA; 2University of New Orleans, Department of Psychology, New Orleans, LA, USA; 3Department of Criminal Justice, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA,USA; 4Departments of Psychiatry and Biomathematical Sciences, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA; 5Department of Criminal Justice, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA

Abstract: Gender and racial differences in infection rates for chlamydia and gonorrhea have been reported within community-based populations, but little is known of such differences within juvenile offending populations. Moreover, while research has demonstrated that certain individual-level and community-level factors affect risky behaviors associated with sexually transmitted disease (STD), less is known about how multi-level factors affect STD infection, particularly among delinquent populations. The present study investigated gender and racial differences in STD infection among a sample of 924 juvenile offenders. Generalized linear model regression analyses were conducted to examine the influence of individual-level factors such as age, offense history, and substance use and community-level factors such as concentrated disadvantage, ethnic heterogeneity, and family disruption on STD status. Results revealed significant racial and STD status differences across gender, as well as interaction effects for race and STD status for males only. Gender differences in individual-level and community-level predictors were also found. Implications of these findings for future research and public health policy are discussed.

Keywords: juvenile delinquents, sexually transmitted diseases, gender differences, personal risk factors, community risk factors

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