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Negative Affect and HIV Risk in Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Abusing Adolescent Offenders

NCJ Number
Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse Volume: 13 Issue: 1 Dated: 2003 Pages: 1-17
Barbara A. Lucenko; Robert M. Malow; Mario Sanchez-Martinez; Terri Jennings; Jessy G. Devieux
Vincent B. Van Hasselt Ph.D., Brad Donohue Ph.D.
Date Published
17 pages
This study analyzed negative affect and HIV risk in a group of alcohol and other drug (AOD) abusing adolescent offenders.
Multiple studies have shown various depressive symptoms linked to elevated levels of HIV risk across diverse adult populations, yet few studies have examined this link among adolescents, despite a high risk for both HIV and negative affect in this age group. Adolescents are at increased risk for multiple reasons. They see themselves as invincible and tend to underestimate the risk of acquiring HIV, and they frequently experiment with drugs during this time, which may impair their cognition and increase the chances of engaging in risky sexual behavior. To address the lack of knowledge in this area, baseline data from 256 male and 107 female, inner city, culturally diverse adolescent offenders were analyzed. Participants ranged in age from 13 to 18, with an average level of education of 8.73 years; 30.9 percent were African-American, 9.5 percent were non-Hispanic White, 31.2 percent were Hispanic, 9.2 percent were Haitian, and 19.2 percent were other ethnic backgrounds. Assessment measures included the Depressive Affect scale of the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory (MACI), an inventory measuring HIV transmission risk behaviors, skills and attitudes assessment, and a measure of social desirability. Results of the analysis revealed that participants that scored high on negative affect reported significantly more sexual partners during the last 6 months, a higher percentage of unprotected sex during the last 3 and 6 months, and a higher incidence of lifetime STD’s, as well as more frequent marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol use. High negative affect participants reported higher perceived susceptibility to HIV, higher prevention beliefs, more favorable intentions to engage in safer sex, and were more skilled at using condoms. In addition, high negative affect participants reported less favorable attitudes towards using condoms, less knowledge about HIV transmission, and lower sexual self-efficacy than low negative affect participants. As such, symptoms of negative affect are of particular concern for adolescents, who are at risk for generally acknowledged difficulties such as suicide, but also for multiple HIV risk factors. 1 table and 59 references