Differences by sexual minority status in relationship abuse and sexual and reproductive health among adolescent females

Heather L. McCauley, Rebecca N. Dick, Daniel J Tancredi, Sandi Goldstein, Samantha Blackburn, Jay G. Silverman, Erica Monasterio, Lisa James, Elizabeth Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose Little is known about adolescent relationship abuse (ARA) and related sexual and reproductive health among females who either identify as lesbian or bisexual or engage in sexual behavior with female partners (i.e., sexual minority girls [SMGs]).

Methods Baseline data were collected from 564 sexually active girls ages 14-19 years seeking care at eight California school-based health centers participating in a randomized controlled trial. Associations between ARA, sexual minority status and study outcomes (vaginal, oral, and anal sex, number and age of sex partners, contraceptive nonuse, reproductive coercion, sexually transmitted infection [STI] and pregnancy testing) were assessed via logistic regression models for clustered survey data.

Results SMGs comprised 23% (n = 130) of the sample. Controlling for exposure to ARA, SMGs were less likely to report recent vaginal sex (adjusted odds ratio [AOR],.51; 95% confidence interval [CI],.35-.75) and more likely to report recent oral sex (AOR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.38-2.92) and anal sex (AOR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.26-2.46) compared with heterosexual girls. Heterosexual girls with ARA exposure (AOR, 2.85; 95% CI, 1.07-7.59) and SMGs without ARA exposure (AOR, 3.01; 95% CI, 2.01-4.50) were more likely than nonabused heterosexual girls be seeking care for STI testing or treatment than heterosexual girls without recent victimization.

Conclusions Findings suggest the need for attention to STI risk among all girls, but SMGs in particular. Clinicians should be trained to assess youth for sexual contacts and sexual identity and counsel all youth on healthy relationships, consensual sex, and safer sex practices relevant to their sexual experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-658
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Adolescent relationship abuse
  • Sexual minority youth
  • Sexually transmitted infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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