Overweight & obesity and risky sexual behavior among Canadian adolescents

Dibben, Bruce (2015) Overweight & obesity and risky sexual behavior among Canadian adolescents. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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In Canada, the prevalence of adolescent overweight and obesity has increased significantly and currently accounts for about 20% of the adolescent population in the 12 to 17 year old age group. Adolescents with a higher weight status experience a host of physical, social and psychological challenges and have been shown to have an increased likelihood of engaging in various high-risk behaviors. However, the relationship between adolescent overweight and obesity and risky sexual behavior has received scant attention in the literature. Studies have shown that there is a significant association between obesity and lower levels of self-esteem as well as body image satisfaction. In turn, a number of studies have demonstrated that lower levels of self-esteem and body image satisfaction are predictors of risky sexual behavior. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to unveil any direct associations between adolescent overweight and obesity and risky sexual behavior, and explore the possibility of body image satisfaction and self-esteem as psychological pathways. Data from the 2009/2010 cycle of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) were used, where a total of 8 168 participants between the ages of 15 to 19 were included. The results of this study showed that obese female adolescents were less likely to have ever had sex, both in the 15 to 17 year old age group as well as the 18 to 19 year old age group. In the 15 to 17 year old age group, overweight females were more likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and in the 18 to 19 year old age group, obese females were less likely to have used a condom the last time they had sex and less likely to have used birth control in the past 12 months. Overweight and obese adolescents had significantly lower levels of body image satisfaction in both age groups, while obese adolescents experienced lower levels of self-esteem in the 15 to 17 year old age group. Implications for intervention and prevention strategies are discussed and recommendations for future studies provided.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11613
Item ID: 11613
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 63-80).
Keywords: Overweight, Obesity, Risky, Sexual, Behavior, Canadian, Adolescents
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: September 2015
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Obesity in adolescence--Canada--Psychological aspects; Teenagers--Sexual behavior--Canada; Body image in adolescence--Canada; Self-esteem in adolescence--Canada

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