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Troubled girls from poor neighborhoods more likely to have sex in early adolescence
Date:9/15/2008

This release is available in French.

Montreal, September 16, 2008 Young girls from poor neighbourhoods need to review more than the birds and bees with their parents they need to hear about contraception and potential dangers of hanging out with older boys. A new study by researchers from the Universit de Montral, the University of New Brunswick and Tufts University, published in the journal Child Development, has found that girls living in poor neighbourhoods were more likely to engage in sexual intercourse in early adolescence and to be doing so with older boys.

"Young girls who live in disadvantaged neighbourhoods are more likely to initiate sex at an early age, especially those young women with conduct problems," said lead author, Vronique Dupr, now a post-doctoral fellow at Tufts University, who completed the research at the Universit de Montral. "The results suggest that neighborhoods shape peer groups, which in turn influence when girls become sexually active."

Dupr also found that teen girls from poor neighborhoods with a history of conduct problems were more likely to associate with deviant peers and to be initiated into sex by males that were three years older or more. "Girls with a history of conduct problems were found to be more likely to have deviant and older male friends when they lived in a disadvantaged context," said Dupr. "Deviant peers are thought to provide a pool of willing partners and cultivate a sense that early sexual activity is desirable."

Wide sample of teens

For this study, the research team used a sub-sample of boys and girls from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. A total of 2,596 Canadian adolescents were followed from the ages of 12 to 15 and one quarter of these participants were found to live in poor neighborhoods. In addition to neighborhood and peer
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Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
sylvain-jacques.desjardins@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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