Comparing the Sexual and Mental Health of Justice-Involved Youth Across Gender and Sexual Orientation

AuthorNyssa L. Snow-Hill,Ashley D. Kendall,Erin M. Emerson,Angela L. Walden,Geri R. Donenberg,Kevin J. Hsu
DOI10.1177/07340168221078343
Date01 September 2022
Published date01 September 2022
Subject MatterArticles
Comparing the Sexual and
Mental Health of Justice-
Involved Youth Across Gender
and Sexual Orientation
Kevin J. Hsu
1
, Angela L. Walden
1
,
Ashley D. Kendall
2
, Nyssa L. Snow-Hill
1
,
Erin M. Emerson
2
, and Geri R. Donenberg
2
Abstract
Justice-involved youth may experience unique sexual and mental health risks related to both their
gender and sexual orientation. Although previous research has revealed important gender and sex-
ual orientation differences in the sexual and mental health of justice-involved youth, no study has yet
examined gender and sexual orientation differences simultaneously within the same sample. The
present study addressed this gap in a sample of 347 probation-involved youth, 1317 years old,
recruited as part of a randomized controlled trial of PHAT Life, an HIV/STI, mental health, and sub-
stance use prevention program. On the one hand, female and non-heterosexual youth were less
likely than male and heterosexual youth to report having ever had sex and to be considered high
sexual risk. On the other hand, female youth were more likely than male youth to test positive
for STIs and to report certain mental health problems, but non-heterosexual youth showed no dif-
ference from heterosexual youth. Finally, female non-heterosexual youth were more likely to report
externalizing problems than youth of other gender and sexual orientation combinations. Findings
highlight the need for prevention and intervention efforts that specically target justice-involved
youth who identify as female, non-heterosexual, or both.
Keywords
Justice-involved youth, gender, sexual orientation, sexual risk, mental health
1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
2
Department of Medicine, Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago,
IL, USA
Corresponding Author:
Kevin J. Hsu, Department of Psychological and Social Sciences, PennsylvaniaState University, 1600 Woodland Road, Abington,
PA 19001, USA.
Email: khsu@psu.edu
Article
Criminal Justice Review
2022, Vol. 47(3) 354368
© 2022 Georgia State University
Article reuse guidelines:
sagepub.com/journals-permissions
DOI: 10.1177/07340168221078343
journals.sagepub.com/home/cjr

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