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How loneliness affects sexual risk-taking behavior; A cross-sectional study using data from a survey on young people in Skåne, Sweden.

Hjelm, Erika LU (2014) MPHN11 20141
Social Medicine and Global Health
Abstract (Swedish)
Background: The high prevalence of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among young people in Sweden are the result of a trend towards increased sexual risk-taking behaviour. While a few qualitative studies suggest that some of these young people take sexual risks as an escape from loneliness, the associations between loneliness and sexual risk-taking behavior are still not well researched. The role of personal support, however, is well recognized as a buffering factor for young people’s sexual risk-taking behaviour. The aim of this study was to assess associations between feelings of loneliness and sexual risk-taking behaviour among young people in Skåne, while investigating personal support as a potential buffering... (More)
Background: The high prevalence of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among young people in Sweden are the result of a trend towards increased sexual risk-taking behaviour. While a few qualitative studies suggest that some of these young people take sexual risks as an escape from loneliness, the associations between loneliness and sexual risk-taking behavior are still not well researched. The role of personal support, however, is well recognized as a buffering factor for young people’s sexual risk-taking behaviour. The aim of this study was to assess associations between feelings of loneliness and sexual risk-taking behaviour among young people in Skåne, while investigating personal support as a potential buffering factor for those who feel lonely.

Method: Data on socio-demographic factors, sexual risk-taking behaviour, loneliness and personal support among young people were drawn from a cross-sectional study on youth. The participants consisted of a random selection of people between 18 and 30 years old living in Skåne. Logistic regressions were performed to assess the associations between loneliness and sexual risk-taking behaviour. Personal support was treated as a potential buffering factor for lonely young people’s sexual risk-taking behaviour.

Results: There are associations between loneliness and sexual risk-taking behaviour among young people in Skåne. The risk to engage in sexual risk-taking behaviour gradually increased with how lonely the respondents felt. The results showed similar patterns for men and women and the results remained statistically significant for all levels of loneliness. Men and women who felt very lonely were five times as likely to engage in sexual risk-taking behaviour (OR 5.5, 95 % CI: 3.05-9.94 and OR 5.0, 95 % CI: 3.21-7.85) compared to those who did not feel lonely at all. Personal support was a buffering factor for those who felt a little bit lonely. However, there are indications that personal support has a negative effect on sexual risk-taking behaviour among those who feel quite a lot or very lonely.

Conclusion: This study contributes to new knowledge on the associations between loneliness and sexual risk-taking behaviour. For future public health interventions to be more successful than previous, preventive programs can benefit from these findings by realizing that internal factors such loneliness requires more attention. (Less)
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author
Hjelm, Erika LU
supervisor
organization
course
MPHN11 20141
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
multi-system framework, personal support, loneliness, sexual behaviour, young people
language
English
id
4936533
date added to LUP
2015-01-19 14:22:16
date last changed
2015-01-19 14:22:16
@misc{4936533,
  abstract     = {Background: The high prevalence of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among young people in Sweden are the result of a trend towards increased sexual risk-taking behaviour. While a few qualitative studies suggest that some of these young people take sexual risks as an escape from loneliness, the associations between loneliness and sexual risk-taking behavior are still not well researched. The role of personal support, however, is well recognized as a buffering factor for young people’s sexual risk-taking behaviour. The aim of this study was to assess associations between feelings of loneliness and sexual risk-taking behaviour among young people in Skåne, while investigating personal support as a potential buffering factor for those who feel lonely.

Method: Data on socio-demographic factors, sexual risk-taking behaviour, loneliness and personal support among young people were drawn from a cross-sectional study on youth. The participants consisted of a random selection of people between 18 and 30 years old living in Skåne. Logistic regressions were performed to assess the associations between loneliness and sexual risk-taking behaviour. Personal support was treated as a potential buffering factor for lonely young people’s sexual risk-taking behaviour.

Results: There are associations between loneliness and sexual risk-taking behaviour among young people in Skåne. The risk to engage in sexual risk-taking behaviour gradually increased with how lonely the respondents felt. The results showed similar patterns for men and women and the results remained statistically significant for all levels of loneliness. Men and women who felt very lonely were five times as likely to engage in sexual risk-taking behaviour (OR 5.5, 95 % CI: 3.05-9.94 and OR 5.0, 95 % CI: 3.21-7.85) compared to those who did not feel lonely at all. Personal support was a buffering factor for those who felt a little bit lonely. However, there are indications that personal support has a negative effect on sexual risk-taking behaviour among those who feel quite a lot or very lonely.

Conclusion: This study contributes to new knowledge on the associations between loneliness and sexual risk-taking behaviour. For future public health interventions to be more successful than previous, preventive programs can benefit from these findings by realizing that internal factors such loneliness requires more attention.},
  author       = {Hjelm, Erika},
  keyword      = {multi-system framework,personal support,loneliness,sexual behaviour,young people},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {How loneliness affects sexual risk-taking behavior; A cross-sectional study using data from a survey on young people in Skåne, Sweden.},
  year         = {2014},
}