Health risk behaviors in an urban sample of young women who have sex with women

Amy L. Herrick, Alicia K. Matthews, Robert Garofalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We examined the prevalence of sexual and substance use behaviors among a group of young women who have sex with women (WSW) aged 16 to 24. A convenience sample of 137 young WSW participants completed a confidential survey that included demographics, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors. Descriptive analyses were used to interpret the data. Comparisons were made between rates of risk behaviors in this sample and non-sexual minority youth in a national dataset. The mean age of participants was 19.6 (SD = 2.3) and 59% were from communities of color. Participants reported a history of risky behaviors including anal intercourse with men (26%), monthly binge drinking (22%), pregnancy (20%), and tobacco use (54%). These findings highlight the need for health promotion interventions aimed at reducing risky health behaviors in this highly vulnerable and underserved sub-population of young women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-92
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Lesbian Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Lesbian and bisexual girls
  • Sexually minority youth
  • Youth risk behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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