Background Previous work has illustrated daily variation in feelings of intimacy, perceptions of partner concurrency (PPC) and STD risk perception (PRSTD), indicating these are dynamic attributes within adolescent romantic relationships. Our objective was to examine whether daily variations in these STI-associated feelings and perceptions predicted incident chlamydia and/or gonorrhoea infection.
Methods A clinic and community venue recruited cohort of females (N = 122), 16–19yrs at baseline, completed daily diaries on feelings and perceptions about each current sex partner on a Smartphone continuously for 18 months. Urine was tested for chlamydia and gonorrhoea quarterly. As means for feelings of trust, closeness and commitment were high in these relationships, data were coded to indicate any decrease in feelings from the previous day. PRSTD and PCC were reverse coded to indicate any increase. GEE was used to account for the correlation among repeated measures within relationships.
Results For each day there was a decrease in trust there was a 52% increase in the odds of being infected with an STI at follow-up [OR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.20–1.91, p < 0.001]. For each day there was a decrease in closeness the odds of being infected with an STI at follow-up increased by 44% [OR: 1.44, 95% CI: 0.97–2.12, p = 0.067]. Neither an increase in PRSTD or PPC nor decrease in commitment was associated with an STI. An index was created to examine the cumulative effect of variation in feelings and perceptions and found evidence of co-variation. A change in an additional feeling or perception that day increased odds of an STI by 16% [OR: 1.16, 95% CI: 1.02–1.33, p = 0.027].
Conclusions A decrease in feelings of intimacy toward a partner may be a more sensitive indicator of STI risk than PRSTD, PPC or commitment. The next generation of interventions for youth will need strategies to address feelings of intimacy within adolescent romantic relationships.
- adolescent romantic relationships
- daily diaries
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