Poor mental health could lead to casual sex among teens and vice versa
Washington – A new study has suggested that poor mental health and casual sex feed off each other among teens and young adults, with each one contributing to the other over time.
Researchers found that teens, who showed depressive symptoms were likelier than others to engage in casual sex as young adults.
In addition, those who engaged in casual sex were more likely to later seriously consider suicide.
Lead author Sara Sandberg-Thoma, a doctoral student in human sciences at The Ohio State University, said that several studies have found a link between poor mental health and casual sex, but the nature of that association has been unclear.
She said that there’s always been a question about which one is the cause and which is the effect.
Sandberg-Thoma asserted that this study provides evidence that poor mental health can lead to casual sex, but also that casual sex leads to additional declines in mental health.”
Sandberg-Thoma and Claire Kamp Dush, assistant professor of human sciences at Ohio State found that the link between casual sex and mental health was the same for both men and women.
The study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Adolescents from 80 high schools and 52 middle schools were interviewed when they were in grades 7 through 12 and then again when they were aged 18 to 26.
In all, this study involved about 10,000 people who were surveyed about their romantic relationship experiences across time, as well as depressive symptoms and thoughts of suicide.
The study has been published online in the Journal of Sex Research.