Understanding Variability in adolescent women's sexually transmitted infection-related perceptions and behaviors associated with main sex partners

Pamela A. Matson, Shang En Chung, Steven Huettner, Jonathan M. Ellen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: It is not well understood whether characteristics of adolescent main partnerships differ categorically from one relationship to the next or whether observed differences in sexually transmitted infection (STI)-related perceptions and sexual behaviors between main partnerships results from a failure to capture variability within adolescent main partnerships. The objective of this study was to examine the extent to which female adolescents' STI-related feelings, perceptions, and sexual behavior associated with main sex partners varied over the course of their relationship. METHODS: A cohort of adolescent women aged 16 to 19 years at baseline, recruited from health clinics or community venues, completed daily diaries on a Smartphone continuously for 18 months. Participants reported daily on their partner-specific feelings of closeness, trust, commitment, perceived risk for acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (PRSTD), perception of partner concurrency (PPC), and condom use for their main sexual partners. RESULTS: Relationships from 49 participants were used to examine variability over time in STI-related feelings, perceptions, and behavior. Overall, relationships were characterized by high levels of trust, closeness, and commitment and low levels of PPC, PRSTD, and condom use. However, for all but PRSTD, there was more variation (>50%) within than between relationships for each of these measures, although variability of PRSTD was high (47.1%). Residual variability for all perceptions and behaviors remained significant after controlling for trends over time. CONCLUSIONS: Diary data illustrate wide day-to-day fluctuations in feelings of intimacy, PPCs, PRSTDs, and condom use indicating that these are dynamic attributes of adolescent romantic relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-479
Number of pages5
JournalSexually transmitted diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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