Sexual activity and problem behaviors among black, urban adolescents

Margaret E. Ensminger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article focuses on whether sexual activity is best considered in the same paradigm as adolescent substance use and assault or separately. Among black, inner-city adolescents (N = 705), followed longitudinally since first grade, 3 questions were examined: (1) how these 3 behaviors co-occur, (2) their early family and school precursors, and (3) their relations with adolescent school behavior and parental supervision. The 3 most frequent patterns were compared: no problem behaviors, only sexual activity, and the combination of sexual activity, heavy substance use, and/or assault. In general, the mulbproblem adolescents differed from the other adolescents in their behavior and parental supervision. While sex-only males were similar to the no-problem males, sex-only females differed from the no-problem girls in their family origins. These results suggest that by examining adolescent behaviors in their co-occurring combinations in epidemiologically defined populations, variations in pathways to deviance can be better understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRisks and Problem Behaviors in Adolescence
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781135680824
ISBN (Print)0815332947, 9780815332947
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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