NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Depression, Suicide, is Directly Connected to Sexual Activity Among Teens

June 4, 2003

In addition to its role in promoting teen pregnancy and the current epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs,) early sexual activity is a substantial factor in undermining the emotional well-being of American teenagers (ages 14 through 17), according to a new study by the Heritage Center for Data Analysis.

The researchers found substantial differences in emotional health between those teens who are sexually active and those who are not.

  • Nearly 25.3 percent of teenage girls who are sexually active report that they are depressed all, most or a lot of the time compared to only 7.7 percent of sexually inactive teenage girls.
  • Thus, sexually active girls are more than three times more likely to be depressed than are girls who are not.
  • Some 8.3 percent of teenage boys who are sexually active report that they are depressed all, most or a lot of the time, compared to only 3.4 percent of sexually inactive teenage boys.
  • Thus, boys who are sexually active are more than twice as likely to be depressed as are those who are not.

The study also found a clear link between sexual activity and attempted suicide:

  • A full 14.3 percent of girls who are sexually active report having attempted suicide compared to only 5.1 percent of sexually inactive girls.
  • Thus, sexually active girls are nearly three times more likely to attempt suicide than are girls who are not sexually active.
  • Among boys, 6.0 percent of those who are sexually active have attempted suicide compared to only 0.7 percent of sexually inactive boys.
  • Thus, sexually active teenage boys are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than are boys who are not sexually active.

Source: Robert E. Rector, Kirk A. Johnson and Lauren R. Noyes, "Sexually Active Teenagers Are More Likely To Be Depressed And To Attempt Suicide," CDA03-04, June 2, 2003, Heritage Center for Data Analysis.

For text http://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/loader.cfm?url=/commonspot/security/getfile.cfm&PageID=43062

 

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