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The association between gang involvement and sexual behaviours among detained adolescent males
  1. D R Voisin1,
  2. L F Salazar2,
  3. R Crosby3,4,5,
  4. R J DiClemente2,3,4,5,6,
  5. W L Yarber4,7,8,
  6. M Staples-Horne9
  1. 1University of Chicago, School of School of Social Service Administration, Chicago, IL, USA
  2. 2Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, GA, USA
  3. 3Emory Center for AIDS Research, GA, USA
  4. 4Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention at Indiana University, IN, USA
  5. 5Kentucky School of Public Health, KY, USA
  6. 6Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, GA, USA
  7. 7Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Indiana University, IN, USA
  8. 8Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University, IN, USA
  9. 9Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, GA, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dexter R Voisin
 School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, 969 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA;


Objective: Data were collected from 270 detained male adolescents (aged 14–18 years) to determine the association between ever having been in a gang and a range of sexual behaviours such as sexual activity, male condom use, sex with multiple partners, and drug use during sex.

Methods: Participants answered survey questions using audio computer assisted self interviewing (A-CASI) procedures, which assessed demographic, family factors, history of gang membership, and sexual behaviours.

Results: Multiple logistic regression analyses, controlling for demographic, socioeconomic status, and family factors, indicated that adolescents who reported having been in a gang, relative to their peers reporting no gang involvement, were 5.7 times more likely to have had sex, 3.2 times more likely to have got a girl pregnant, and almost four times more likely to have been “high” on alcohol or other drugs during sexual intercourse, have had sex with a partner who was “high” on alcohol or other drugs, or have had sex with multiple partners concurrently.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that having been in a gang can discriminate between levels of STI associated risk behaviours among an otherwise high risk population—detained adolescent males.

  • A-CASI, audio computer assisted self interviewing
  • STIs, sexually transmitted infections
  • gangs
  • detained males
  • sexual risks

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