Mania Symptoms and HIV-Risk Behavior Among Adolescents in Mental Health Treatment
Stewart, Angela J.
Brown, Larry K.
PublisherTaylor & Francis
MetadataShow full item record
Objective: This study explored whether adolescents with elevated symptoms of mania (ESM+) engage in more HIV risk behaviors than those with other psychiatric disorders and examined factors associated with HIV risk behavior among ESM+ adolescents. Method: Eight hundred and forty adolescents (56% female, 58% African American, mean age 14.9 years) who received mental health treatment completed private, computer-based assessments of psychiatric disorders, sexual and substance use behaviors, and provided urine to screen for sexually transmitted infections (STI). Results: Eighty-seven percent met criteria for a psychiatric disorder and among these youth 21% were considered ESM+. Compared to those with other psychiatric disorders, ESM+ were more likely to be sexually active (61.6% vs. 53.6%), have multiple sexual partners (58.6% vs. 37.5%), have unprotected sex (38.4% vs. 28.0%), exchange sex for money (4.7% vs. 1.2%) and to test positive for an STI (14.0% vs. 6.3%). Among ESM+ youth, sexual risk behaviors were primarily associated with individual factors (e.g., self-efficacy, impulsivity, and substance use) and varied depending on the type of sexual behavior (e.g., onset of sex, number of partners, and condom use). Conclusions: Adolescents with ESM should be regularly screened for sexual risk behaviors and receive HIV prevention skills. Efforts to increase self-efficacy for safer sex, reduce impulsivity, and decrease substance use may be effective targets for sexual risk reduction among adolescents with ESM.