Thursday, 9 January 2014

Risk Factors

Risk Factors

Dr. Weissglass, a psychologist in New York, completed this research to determine the risk factors associated with early sexual debut. Many risk and protective factors for early sexual initiation have been examined in the research, including early pubertal timing, a history of child sexual abuse, exposure to media, neighborhood and community characteristics, associating with sexually active peers, use of drugs or alcohol, and aspects of the parentchild relationship Kirby, 2002; Kopacz, 2006;

From the research examining family influence, a myriad of familial factors have been associated with adolescent sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy including parental monitoring, communication between parents and adolescents, and the quality of parentadolescent relationships Claes et al., 2005; Fitzharris and WernerWilson, 2004; Smith, 1997; Treboux and BuschRossnagel, 1995. As a therapist in New York, Dr. Weissglass is able to address each of these factors. Further, some studies have found that parental factors are more important than peer factors in influencing adolescents sexual attitudes and behaviors Fasula and Miller, 2006. A therapist in New York can offer techniques to address each of these factors. While many researchers have examined these factors associated with teenage mothers, not as many researchers have focused on highrisk adolescents prior to pregnancy, such as those with early sexual debut. Few studies have used this information of protective and risk factors related to family influences to evaluate existing and potential treatment models Olsson et al., 2003. As a psychologist in New York, Dr. Weissglass can evaluate all potential therapy techniques.

This clinical research project by a psychologist in New York, Dr. Cortney Weissglass, seeks to investigate the familial factors involved with adolescent females early sexual debut including familial structure, communication between parents and adolescents, and the quality of parentadolescent relationships. Some metaanalyses have found that, overall, interventions to reduce teen pregnancy that target parentadolescent communication are not effective DiCenso, Guyatt, Willan, and Griffith, 2002 while others argue that they are McKay, Fisher, MatickaTyndale, and Barrett, 2001. Findings have not been consistent and empirical studies examining the efficacy of programs directed at early sexual debut are limited. The limited and debated efficacy of these interventions points a psychologist in New York to the need to include other identified important familial factors such as parental monitoring and family functioning. In addition, early sexual debut is often associated with other negative factors such as substance abuse, disrupted family relationships, and delinquency Crockett, Bingham, Chopak, and Vicary, 1996; Manders et al., 2006. Each of these negative factors can be addressed by a therapist in New York. All of these behaviors have risk and protective factors in common such as temperament, family relationships, and peer relationships Compas, 2004. It is hypothesized then, that improving family relationships and parentchild functioning will serve as a protective factor and thus lessen these problematic and risky behaviors among adolescent females.

Written by Dr. Cortney Weissglass as part of Clinical Research Project submitted to the Faculty of the American School of Professional Psychology of Argosy University, Washington, DC Campus, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. Dissertation chair: Ann Womack, PhD and Member: Jennifer McEwan, PhD. August, 2010.

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