Weekly variations in feelings of trust predict incident STI within a prospective cohort of adolescent women from a US city

Pamela A. Matson, J. Dennis Fortenberry, Shang En Chung, Charlotte A. Gaydos, Jonathan Ellen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives: Feelings of intimacy, perceptions of partner concurrency (PPC) and perceptions of risk for an STD (PRSTD) are meaningful and dynamic attributes of adolescent sexual relationships. Our objective was to examine whether variations in these STI-associated feelings and perceptions predicted incident Chlamydia trachomatis and/or Neisseriagonorrhoeae infection within a prospective cohort of urban adolescent women. Methods: A cohort of clinic-recruited women aged 16-19 completed daily surveys on feelings and risk perceptions about each current sex partner on a smartphone continuously for up to 18 months. Urine was tested for C. trachomatis and N. gonorrhoeae every 3 months. Daily responses were averaged across the week. As overall means for trust, closeness and commitment were high, data were coded to indicate any decrease in feelings from the previous week. PRSTD and PPC were reverse coded to indicate any increase from the previous week. An index was created to examine the cumulative effect of variation in these feelings and perceptions. Generalised linear models were used to account for correlation among repeated measures within relationships. Results: For each week that there was a decrease in trust, there was a 45% increase in the risk of being infected with an STI at follow-up (relative risk (RR) 1.45, 95% CI 1.18 to 1.78, P=0.004). Neither a decrease in closeness or commitment, nor an increase in PRSTD or PPC was associated with an STI outcome. Cumulatively, the index measure indicated that a change in an additional feeling or perception over the week increased the odds of an STI by 14% (RR 1.14, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.29, P=0.026). Conclusions: A decrease in feelings of trust towards a main partner may be a more sensitive indicator of STI risk than PRSTD, PPC or commitment. The next generation of behavioural interventions for youth will need strategies to address feelings of intimacy within adolescent romantic relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-597
Number of pages4
JournalSexually transmitted infections
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • adolescent
  • chlamydia trachomatis
  • neisseria gonorrhoea
  • sexual behaviour
  • sexual health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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