Understanding Forced Sex During Adolescence: An Exploratory Study of Risk and Protective Factors

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The purpose of this study was to explore predictors of forced sex among a sample of high school students. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey was administered to youth from seven high schools (N=3,846) in southeast Florida. Descriptive statistics and chi-squared automatic interaction detection (CHAID) were used to identify interactions among 31 independent variables with self-reported forced sex as the dependent variable. 11.3% of high school youth self-reported forced sex. The largest segment at risk for forced sex comprised youth who had experienced dating violence and prescription drug use (59.7%, N-72; ?2(1, N-212)=22.572, p=0.00). The largest segment protected from forced sex comprised youth who were Hispanic and had experienced low levels of harassment related to sexual orientation, low to no levels of binge drinking, low to no sexual partners (lifetime), and not experiencing dating violence (98l8%; N-167; ?2(1,N=808)=10.75, p=.016). Classification accuracy was acceptable (89%). This study represents the first use of CHAID to identify risk for and protective factors for forced sex. Results suggested an interaction between prescription drug use, an emerging public health problem, and dating violence is putting males and females at risk for forced sex. Intervention efforts should target risk and protective factors identified.


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