Body satisfaction and sexual health behaviors among New Zealand secondary school students

Bridget K. Larson, Terryann C. Clark, Elizabeth M. Robinson, Jennifer Utter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This population-based study of 2931 respondents to Youth07 (a cross-sectional survey of New Zealand secondary students' health) examines associations between weightrelated variables and sexual risk-taking. It is hypothesized that girls who report poorer body satisfaction or previous weight-loss attempts will be: more likely to be currently sexually active; less likely to negotiate contraceptive use; and less likely to discuss preventing sexually transmitted infections with her partner. It is hypothesized that these relationships will not exist among boys. Multiple logistic regression models were used to measure associations between weight-related variables and sexual risktaking. Among girls, weight satisfaction was found to be associated with regular contraception use and discussion of sexually transmitted infection prevention with their partners. Weight-loss attempts were found to be positively associated with female sexual activity. Weight-loss attempts were associated with irregular contraceptive use among boys. No significant relationships were found to predict condom use at last intercourse. Health professionals and sexuality educators should consider that poor body satisfaction may affect sexual decision-making. Anticipatory guidance and education that seeks to enhance body satisfaction and encourage responsible sexual decision-making should be part of any risk-reduction strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-198
Number of pages12
JournalSex Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


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