Background: Research supports that adolescents involved with the criminal justice system engage in significantly more sexual risk behaviors than those never adjudicated, including use of drugs prior to/during sexual intercourse. Previous research has focused on incarcerated adolescents, with limited if any attention on the tenable relationship between social desirability with respect to marijuana use on STI risk practices. The purpose of this investigation is to conduct an exploratory study designed to identify differences, if any, in terms of marijuana use and social desirability as it pertains to risk for STIs among a sample of adolescent offenders in Georgia as a function of gender.
Methods: Participants were 2260 juvenile offenders housed at selected Youth Development Campuses (YDCs) in the state of Georgia. Frequencies and descriptive statistics were performed prior to hypothesis testing to describe male and female adolescent offenders and ANOVA was selected for a detailed examination of variation in items possible range of scoring self-reported marijuana social by respondentsâ€™ gender.
Results: Significant differences between male and female adolescent offenders regarding the belief that using marijuana made them feel closer to a sexual partner (F=61.81, P=0.001), being more sexually responsive (F=82.50, P=0.001), less nervous about sex (F=50.98, P=0.001) and to have sex with people they normally would not have sex with (F=156.20, P=0.001) were observed. In all cases, male respondents being more likely than females to agree with the aforementioned statements. Females in our sample were also more than males to disagree with using marijuana made sex more enjoyable with (F=93.67, P=0.001), made them a better lover with (F=108/19, P=0.001) or make them less likely to take protective precautions when having sex with (F=74.75, P=0.001).
Conclusion: The present findings further suggest that associations of marijuana use and sexual risk behavior can be moderated by individual difference variables, including marijuana expectancies.
Sex-Related Marijuana Expectancies, Social Desirability, Adolescent Offenders, sexual risk taking, substance use, marijuana