Depressed mood as a risk factor for unprotected sex in young people

Adrienne Brown, Alison Yung, Elizabeth Cosgrave, Eóin Killackey, Joe Buckby, Carrie Stanford, Katherine Godfrey, Patrick Mcgorry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Young people may place themselves and others at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and/or the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through engaging in unprotected sex. Mental health problems may play an important role in sex-related risk behaviour. The current research was an investigation of depressed mood and condom use in a help-seeking sample of young people in Melbourne, Australia. Method: The sample comprised 76 sexually active young people aged 15-24 years who were referred to ORYGEN Youth Health, a public mental health service in Melbourne, Australia. Controlling for demographic characteristics and substance use, multivariate logistic regression examined depressed mood as a predictor of condom use at last sexual intercourse. Results: Half of the sample reported condom use the last time they had sexual intercourse. Depressed mood, female gender and unemployment increased the likelihood that participants engaged in unprotected sex. Conclusion: A high proportion of young people, particularly those who are depressed, are failing to protect themselves from STI/HIV. Mental health services working with young people have the opportunity to implement initiatives aimed at reducing risk of STI/HIV infection. 2006 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-312
Number of pages3
JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Depressed mood
  • Sex-related risk behaviour
  • Unprotected sex
  • Young people

Cite this