Sex-related marijuana expectancies of social desirability among detained male and female adolescent offenders in the USA
Torrance T Stephens
Background: Research supports that adolescents involved with the criminal justice system engage in significantly more sexual risk behaviors than those never adjudicated, including use of drugs prior to/during sexual intercourse. Previous research has focused on incarcerated adolescents, with limited if any attention on the tenable relationship between social desirability with respect to marijuana (MJ) use on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) risk practices. The purpose of this investigation is to conduct an exploratory study designed to identify differences, if any, in terms of MJ use and social desirability as it pertains to risk for STIs among a sample of adolescent offenders in Georgia as a function of gender. Methods: Participants were 2277 juvenile offenders housed at selected Youth Development Campuses (YDCs) in the state of Georgia. Frequencies and descriptive statistics were performed prior to hypothesis testing to describe male and female adolescent offenders and ANOVA was selected for a detailed examination of variation in items possible range of scoring self-reported MJ social by respondents’ gender. Results: Significant differences between male and female adolescent offenders regarding the belief that using MJ made them feel closer to a sexual partner (F = 61.81, P = 0.001), being more sexually responsive (F = 82.50, P = 0.001), less nervous about sex (F = 50.98, P = 0.001) and to have sex with people they normally would not have sex with (F = 156.20, P = 0.001) were observed. In all cases, male respondents being more likely than females to agree with the aforementioned statements. Females in our sample were also more than males to disagree with using MJ made sex more enjoyable with (F = 93.67, P = 0.001), made them a better lover with (F = 108/19, P = 0.001) or make them less likely to take protective precautions when having sex with (F = 74.75, P = 0.001). Conclusion: The present findings further suggest that associations of MJ use and sexual risk behavior can be moderated by individual difference variables, including MJ expectancies.