Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and increased engagement in sexual risk-taking behavior: The role of benefit perception

Tali Spiegel, Yehdua Pollak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been linked to higher engagement in sexual risk-taking behavior (SRTB). The current study aims to establish the link between ADHD symptoms and SRTB in the general population and to examine whether an exaggerated perceived benefit of the positive outcomes of SRTB explains that link. A scale for measuring the frequency, likelihood, perceived benefit, and perceived risk of SRTB was developed. Young adult sexually active participants who did not have a stable partnership completed the above scale, as well as a scale of ADHD symptoms. The level of ADHD symptoms positively correlated with the frequency and likelihood of SRTB, even when the overall level of sexual behavior was controlled for. ADHD symptoms also correlated with the perceived benefit of SRTB, but not with the perceived risk of SRTB. Mediation analysis confirmed an indirect pathway: ADHD symptoms predicted perceived benefit of SRTB, which in turn predicted increased likelihood to engage in SRTB. These findings suggest a positive link between ADHD symptoms and SRTB in the general population, which is accounted for by an exaggerated perceived benefit of SRTB.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1043
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume10
Issue numberMAY
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Spiegel and Pollak.

Keywords

  • Adults
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Psychological risk-return model
  • Risk and benefit perception
  • Sexual risk-taking behavior

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