Depressive Symptoms and Sexual Experiences Among Early Adolescent Girls: Interpersonal Avoidance as Moderator

Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2500, USA.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence (Impact Factor: 2.72). 09/2009; 39(8):967-76. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-009-9446-4
Source: PubMed


Building on the growing body of research that supports the relationship between depressive symptoms and sexual activities in adolescence, we examined how individual differences in interpersonal avoidance and anxiety might moderate this association. Data were collected from 71 early adolescent girls (M age 13.45 years; SD = 0.68; 89% Caucasian) concurrently and 1 year later. Results indicated that greater depressive symptoms predicted a greater frequency of sexual intercourse both concurrently and 1-year later, particularly among more interpersonally avoidant girls. However, greater depressive symptoms predicted a greater frequency of non-intercourse activities 1-year later among less avoidant girls. Implications for understanding how individual differences in interpersonal style may serve as risk or protective factors in dysphoric girls' sexual experiences are discussed.

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    • "Several authors have found early initiation of sexual intercourse to be related to poor psychosocial functioning (e.g., Aalsma et al., 2010; Bingham & Crockett, 1996; Hershenberg & Davila, 2010) and depressive symptoms, particularly in girls (e.g., Hallfors, Waller, Bauer, Ford, & Halpern, 2005). Kaltiala-Heino, Kosunen, and Rimpela (2003) investigated a range of sexual behaviors (i.e., kissing, light petting, heavy petting, and intercourse) and found more physically intimate ones to be associated with more self-reported depression. "
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