Toward the development of a new scale of adolescent sexual risk taking
Young, Diana Leigh
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The present research aims to construct a realistic and valid scale of adolescent sexual risk taking. This scale is comprised of four subscales of risk taking relevant to the decision-making literature: perceived risks, expected benefits, history of engagement, and likelihood of engaging in the behavior in the future. In Study 1, undergraduate participants responded to 23 behavioral items specific to an adolescent population in this way. Exploratory factor analyses revealed an easily-interpretable factor structure across all subscales, and hypothesized relationships among the Risks, Benefits, History, and Likelihood subscales emerged. Study 2 results provided strong support for the proposed factor structures and directly tested competing structural models that predicted likelihood to engage in sexual risk. Results are discussed as they relate to adolescent risk taking from a decisional perspective.