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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Changes in sexual behavior have resulted in longer periods of multiple serial or concurrent relationships. This study investigated the effects of multiple heterosexual partners on mental health, specifically, whether higher s of partners were linked to later anxiety, depression, and substance dependency. Data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a prospective, longitudinal study of a birth cohort born in — in Dunedin, New Zealand were used. The relationship between s of sex partners over three age periods 18—20, 21—25, and 26—32 years and diagnoses of anxiety, depression, and substance dependence disorder at 21, 26, and 32 years were examined, using logistic regression.
Interaction by gender was examined. Adjustment was made for prior mental health status. There was no ificant association between of sex partners and later anxiety and depression. Increasing s of sex partners were associated with increasing risk of substance dependence disorder at all three ages. The association was stronger for women and remained after adjusting for prior disorder. For women reporting 2. Analyses using new cases of these disorders showed similar patterns.
This study established a strong association between of sex partners and later substance disorder, especially for women, which persisted beyond prior substance use and mental health problems more generally. The reasons for this association deserve investigation. Changes in heterosexual behavior in many countries since the s have been characterized by a decline in the age at first intercourse and an increase in age at first parenthood.
Data from the U. National Survey of Family Growth has shown an increase in s of sexual partners from todespite a recent stabilization in age at first intercourse Aral, Although sexual risk taking is a feature of young adulthood CDC,the psychological effects of this contemporary pattern of sexual behavior are uncertain. Cross-sectional studies have shown a link between sexual risk taking e.
Studies addressing the directionality of this association have mainly focussed on mental health problems resulting in sexual risk taking e. There is evidence from these studies that alcohol or substance use as well as antisocial behavior in childhood and adolescence predicts risky sexual behavior. The few studies that have examined whether sexual risk taking in mental health problems found early sex and sexually transmitted infections STIs associated with later depression and substance problems e.
Sexual risk taking generally refers to patterns of sexual behavior that put individuals and their sexual partner at greater risk of STIs. However, less is known about the psychological consequences of multiple partners, be they short-term serial or concurrent relationships. The psychological impact of such relationships may be because the relational aspect of sex is missing, i.
Or it may be due to emotional consequences of the break ups of multiple short-term relationships. In this study, we examined whether multiple sexual partners, one aspect of sexual risk taking, predicted a later diagnosis of common mental disorders: anxiety, depression, and substance dependence disorders. We examined this in three age periods over young adulthood.
Further, we have ly examined whether prior mental health problems were associated with subsequent risky sex and showed that childhood antisocial behavior and low anxiety were associated with later sexual risk taking Ramrakha et al. Assessments have since been conducted at 2-year intervals until age 15 years, then again at age 18 —21 —26 —and 32 years — Ethical approval was obtained and confidentiality was assured for each component of the assessment.
Participants from all over New Zealand and overseas were brought back to the unit for a full day of individual data collection at each assessment. Participants were asked questions about the of opposite sex partners with whom they had penetrative sex in the last 3 years at age 215 years at age 26and last 6 years at age At each assessment age, they were also asked about the s for the last 12 months. of sexual partners per year was then categorized into three groups: 1.
Each disorder was diagnosed regardless of the presence of other disorders. Logistic regression models were used to examine the association between reported of sexual partners and later mental disorders anxiety, depression, substance dependence.
For each mental disorder outcome, we first assessed the interaction between gender and of sex partners. If this was not statistically ificant, we removed the interaction term and fitted two models: adjusting for gender only, and for gender and any mental disorder, at the prior assessment phase e.
Disorders included anxiety, depression, mania, eating, substance dependence, schizophrenia, conduct disorder at 18 years and antisocial personality disorders at 21 and 26 years. We also undertook prediction modelling using reported of partners as a continuous variable for the outcome of substance abuse, while restricting this analysis to those with 50 reported partners or less, in order to estimate the interaction point that was most problematic for men and women.
Analyses were also conducted using new cases of disorder at each assessment age. Assessment of potential confounding by socioeconomic status in childhood and at adulthood age 32 years was conducted. Adjustment had no appreciable effect on the so socioeconomic status was not included in the final analyses. Post-hoc analyses were conducted where the findings were ificant to see if adjustment for early sex, or sexually transmitted infections, explained these findings. Because there were no appreciable differences to the odds ratio and the ificance remained unchanged, only adjustment for prior disorder is shown in the tables.
Table 1 shows the and percentage of men and women with no mental disorder, with anxiety, depression, and substance dependence disorders, as well as new cases of disorder, at three assessment ages. s and percentages of men and women with a mental disorder, and a new disorder, at each assessment age. The relationships between annual of sex partners and later anxiety and depression are shown in Table 2. Engaging in sex with multiple partners was not associated with an increased risk for anxiety or depression at 21, 26, or 32 years, once adjustment was made for any prior disorder.
There was no ificant interaction by gender so the combined are presented. The relationship between the reported of sex partners and later anxiety and depression at three age periods. The association between of partners and later substance dependence disorders for women and men are shown in Table 3. Because analyses showed a ificant interaction by gender, the are shown separately for men and women.
For women, there were statistically ificant associations between s of sexual partners and substance dependence disorder at all age periods and the odds ratio increased with increasing of partners. For men, this was true at ages 21 and 32 but not at age 26 years.
Women reporting more than 2. The effect was strongest at age 32, but this was based on small s. Further, the predictive models showed that at ages 21, 26, and 32 years, although having multiple sex partners was followed by substance dependence disorders for both genders, men were more likely than women to have a disorder when they had no or few sex partners whereas women who had more than approximately 10 sex partners in the same time period were much more likely to have a disorder than men see Fig.
Predicted probability of substance dependence disorder from a logistic model including reported of partners, sex, and their interaction. The p value shown is for the interaction term. The association between reported of sex partners and later substance dependence disorder for women and men at three age periods. The effects of alcohol and cannabis dependence disorders were examined separately and similar patterns were shown for both men and women combined Table 4.
Separate by gender were not possible due to very small s in the cells. The association between reported of sexual partners and alcohol and cannabis dependence disorders at three age periods. These analyses were repeated using new cases of disorder, that is, those who had the disorder at one assessment age but did not have it at the assessment age and the are similar. Table 5 shows no ificant relationships between s of sex partners and later anxiety and depression, except for depression and the 1. Further, when this link was examined using the continuous partner variable, there was no ificant association.
The association between the reported of sex partners and new cases of anxiety and depression at three age periods. In Table 6the relationship between of sex partners and new cases of later substance dependence disorder are shown. Because of this and due to the ificant differences between men and women in the earlier analyses as shown in Table 3the are again presented separately by gender. These showed similar, though less marked trends: women were more likely than men to have a new substance dependence disorder with increasing s of partners. The association between the reported of sex partners and later new cases of substance dependence disorder at three age periods.
The showed that, taking into prior disorder status, increasing of sex partners was associated with a striking increase in later substance dependence disorders, especially for women. On the other hand, no consistent associations were found with later anxiety or depression at any age. The were confirmed when using new cases of disorder, that is, a disorder present at one assessment age but not at the assessment age. The strong associations between multiple sex partners and later substance dependence disorders during young adulthood are particularly interesting.How a woman mind works// Topic-Sex
Other studies have shown a similar relationship in the reverse direction, that with frequent and heavy drinking, there is a greater likelihood of risk taking, including having multiple sex partners e. Our study examined substance use at a disorder level and established that the association persisted beyond prior substance use and prior mental health problems more generally.
That is, the risk of substance dependence disorder increased with increasing of sex partners. It was also present at each age for women. These associations were not confounded by socioeconomic status, age at first coitus, or a history of STIs. Other studies have examined prospectively early age at first intercourse and subsequent substance dependence disorders.
McGue and Iacono reported that sexual intercourse in early adolescence was associated with later substance use disorder. Cornelius et al. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the effect of multiple sex partners on mental health in young adulthood in a general population sample. The explanation for the relationship is likely to be complex.
Four possibilities are proposed. First, sexual risk taking and substance use may be part of the cluster of risk taking behaviors common in adolescence and young adulthood Arnett, ; Boyer et al. For instance, people who are impulsive may be more likely to engage in both activities and, consequently, more likely to become substance dependent.
Weinhardt and Carey have suggested, in a review of event-level research on this topic, that the association, especially with condom use, is also complex. Thirdly, shared context may be an important factor, insomuch as young people are likely to meet new sexual partners in situations where alcohol is served. These settings might encourage sexual behavior and facilitate multiple partnering. The fourth intriguing possibility is that it is something about having multiple sex partners itself which puts people at risk of substance disorder. For instance, it may be due to the impersonal nature of such relationships.
Or, it might be that multiple failed relationships create anxiety about initiating new relationships. Perhaps surprisingly in view of the earlier cross-sectional relationship, there was no clear association with multiple sex partners and subsequent anxiety or depressive disorders.
However, Shrier et al. In the same cohort, Hallfors et al. Spriggs and Halpern also found that early sex was related to later depression though only among very young adolescents. In our study, we examined sexual behavior over three discrete periods and mental health in the 12 months immediately after those periods. It is possible that any problems from depression or anxiety that may have arose from multiple sexual partnerships may have resolved themselves in that time period, that is, there were no long-term consequences for depression or anxiety.
Alternatively, the true causal direction may run from anxiety and depressive disorders to sexual behavior and this needs to be explored further. Although having multiple sex partners increased the odds of substance dependence disorders for both sexes, the probability of a disorder was higher for men with up to 10 sex partners in the same period compared to women; however, with more than 10 partners, the probability of a disorder was substantially higher among women versus men.
This trend was repeated over approximately a decade, from early 20s to early 30s. Although substance dependence and multiple partners were more common among men than women at each age, the relationship between multiple partners and substance dependence was stronger for women at each age. These suggest that although women may behave in a manner similar to men, they may nevertheless experience more dissonance between their behavior and both their own expectations as well as societal gender role expectations.
Gender differences in relation to sexual attitudes include differences towards casual sex: men are generally more accepting of casual sex and hold more sexually permissive attitudes than women and women are more accepting of double standards in society e.
Further, men and women may have different motives for having sex. Some women may use alcohol for its disinhibiting effects, thus making it easier to engage in sex Taylor et al. Further, they may suppress or ignore their own desires because they fear pregnancy and disease, which in confusion and anxiety. In a recent study, Blythe, Fortenberry, Temkit, Tu, and Orr found that young women engaged in unwanted sex because they feared anger from their partner if they denied sex. Therefore, it is probable that, for women, experiences with frequent casual sex will sometimes result in complex and conflicting feelings of shame, fear, and dissatisfaction, and substance use may alleviate the negative feelings while facilitating these encounters.
This study was not without limitations. The data were from one country. However, the prevalence rates for mental disorder and sexual behavior were broadly similar to other Western countries Humblet et al. Nevertheless, the study needs to be replicated in other countries and cultures.
Further, the sexual risk measures were self-reported and there was insufficient contextual information available to fully inform interpretation of the findings. Although adjustment was made for prior substance disorder, no allowance was made for prior heavy drinking short of disorder.
The analysis was restricted to heterosexual partners, because people with same-sex partners operate in different contexts. However, this could lead to potential misclassification, as people with multiple same-sex partners only would be classified as 0—1 partners. In fact, only one man was in this category.
We excluded dependence on other drugs apart from alcohol and cannabis as we did not have other drug dependence information at age For the analyses at age 26 and 32, we examined the effect of all substance dependence and the were unchanged. The major strengths of this study were the prospective longitudinal de, which allows temporality of the measures to be established, the same measures were examined over three age periods, and the ability to take into prior mental disorder status.
Moreover, the extremely high retention of the cohort greatly reduced the possibility of bias.Lady looking sex Bell
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The Relationship Between Multiple Sex Partners and Anxiety, Depression, and Substance Dependence Disorders: A Cohort Study