Teens more likely to engage in risky sex when depressed

A new study published in the Journal of Psychology, Health & Medicine has found that depression may lead to a lack of safer sex practices among teenage girls, according to Psychology Today

Over a 12-month period, Dr. Puja Seth and colleagues specifically examined depression symptoms and the sexual behavior of African-American girls. Those who were depressed were less likely to request that a partner wear a condom, the news source reports. They were generally found to have more sexual partners and engage in intercourse while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The website proposes that one of the reasons that depression can lead to riskier sexual behavior is because doing things like using a condom or resisting a partner's advances can seem like too much effort. A teen's self-esteem may also be lower, so she doesn't feel that her health is worth protecting.

Another recent study showed similar results, as depressed teens seemed more likely to have sex without condoms or other contraceptives. This appeared to be true even when depressed and non-depressed teens were equally aware of how protection could prevent common STDs and pregnancy.

Talking about teen sexual behaviors can be a difficult subject for any parent. Experts suggest that when having the conversation, it's important not to show adamant disapproval of the habits. Instead, try to back up personal beliefs with solid facts that can act as a deterrent for future behavior.

The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open, so if a teen is experiencing a problem while sexually active, he or she can turn to a parent for help. Theresa Crooks writes in The Morovia Patch that mothers and fathers should stay age-appropriate when discussing subjects of sexuality. 

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