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Relations between social skills and high-risk sexual interactions among adolescents. Current issues and future directions

Relations between social skills and high-risk sexual interactions among adolescents. Current issues and future directions

Behavior Modification 17(2): 113-135

An estimated 2.5 million teenagers in the US are affected annually with sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and almost 50% of all teenage women become pregnant before age 20. Social skills training is increasingly being used by researchers to reduce adolescents' exposure to the risk of pregnancy and contracting STDs by changing their sexual behavior. Such attempts should include discussing safer-sex practices with partners, resisting coercive attempts to engage in high-risk behaviors, and problem solving to avoid risky social situations. Little, however, is known about how social skills are related to adolescent sexual practices. Focusing primarily on social aspects of adolescent heterosexual activity, this paper reviews current literature and proposes a conceptual framework for understanding the relations between social skills and sexual behavior of adolescents by examining the relationship between sexual activity and social skills; examining the development of sexual-interaction skills and deficits; summarizing what is currently known about the relations between social skills and sexual behavior; discussing current issues in assessing and treating sexual- interaction skills deficits; and proposing some directions for needed research which will add to the current knowledge base and effectiveness of applied interventions efforts. It is hypothesized throughout that STD transmission and date rape are due at least in part to problematic heterosocial interactions between adolescents.

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Accession: 047219977

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PMID: 8471008

DOI: 10.1177/01454455930172002

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