Can psychosocial and socio-demographic questions help identify sexual risk among heterosexually-active women of reproductive age? Evidence from Britain's third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3)

Natalie Edelman, Jackie A. Cassell, Richard de-Visser, Philip Prah, C.H. Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Contraceptive advice and supply (CAS) and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing are increasingly provided in primary care. Most risk assessment tools are based on sexual risk behaviours and socio-demographics, for use online or in specialist services. Combining socio-demographic and psychosocial questions (e.g. religious belief and formative experience) may generate an acceptable tool for targeting women in primary care who would benefit from intervention. We aimed to identify psychosocial and socio-demographic factors associated with reporting key sexual risk behaviours among women in the British general population. MethodsWe undertook complex survey analysis of data from 4911 hetero-sexually active women aged 16-44 years, who participated in Britain's third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3), a national probability sample survey undertaken 2010-2012. We used multivariable regression to examine associations between the available psychosocial and socio-demographic variables in Natsal-3 and reports of three key sexual behaviours: a) 2+ partners in the last year (2PP); b) non-use of condoms with 2+ partners in the last year (2PPNC); c) non-use of condoms at first sex with most recent sexual partner (FSNC). We adjusted for key socio-demographic factors: age, ethnicity and socio-economic status (measured by housing tenure). ResultsWeekly binge drinking (6+ units on one occasion), and first sex before age 16 were each positively associated with all three sexual behaviours after adjustment. Current relationship status, reporting drug use (ever), younger age and living in rented accommodation were also associated with 2+ partners and 2 + partners without condoms after adjustment. Currently being a smoker, older age and respondent ethnicity were associated with FSNC after adjustment for all other variables. Current smoking status, treatment for depression (last year), and living at home with both parents until the age of 14 were each associated with one or more of the behaviours. ConclusionsReported weekly binge drinking, early sexual debut, and age group may help target STI testing and/or CAS among women. Further research is needed to examine the proportion of sexual risk explained by these factors, the acceptability of these questions to women in primary care and the need to customise them for community and other settings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Keywords

  • Sexual risk
  • Survey
  • Psychosocial
  • Socio-demographic
  • Women

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