Editorials

Adolescent mental health and risky sexual behaviour

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7256.251 (Published 29 July 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:251

Young people need health care that covers psychological, sexual, and social areas

  1. David L Bennett, head,
  2. Adrian Bauman, head
  1. Department of Adolescent Medicine, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Sydney, Australia
  2. Epidemiology Unit, Liverpool Hospital, Sydney, Australia

    Papers p 263

    Risk taking among adolescents is of great concern to health professionals. Most of the morbidity among young people is related to behaviours that result in unintentional or intentional injuries, drug and alcohol misuse, tobacco use, sexual behaviour, diet, and physical inactivity.1 Mental health problems in young people are common, with an overall prevalence of around 15%.2

    Against this background, the observation in the paper by Ramrakha and colleagues (p 263) of the strong correlation between psychiatric disorders, substance misuse, and risky sexual behaviour in a birth cohort of 21 year olds is important.3 This finding has been observed previously,4 although in another study Bardone found risky sexual behaviour associated only with conduct disorders, and not with depression or anxiety, in a cohort of girls followed from ages 15 to 21.5 Many studies have reported associations between mental health and the risk of HIV infection.6

    Ramrakha et al's …

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