Research by scientists at University of California, has cautioned parents of teenagers to help their children with depressive symptoms by seeking timely medical assistance. The study has revealed that teens with symptoms of depression show a tendency to indulge in sexual behavior fraught with risks.
Using a questionnaire consisting of 19 parameters, Dr. Jocelyn A. Lehrer and her colleagues drew inferences after assessing the degrees of depressive symptoms, gathered from their study on 4,152 boys and girls. The study participants were interviewed in their homes in the year 1995 and subsequently a year later as a follow up.
The study revealed that, boys who showed marked symptoms of depression were prone to report the non-usage of condoms or any other protective mechanism during sex. In all probability, such boys might have also resorted to drugs and alcohol prior to the sexual experience. Depressed girls too portrayed similar risk taking behavior.
In the words of Lehrer "Youth who are both emotionally distressed and socially isolated may be more likely to seek or be successfully pressured into sexual activity, in the name of some kind of shared intimacy, or to maintain relationships that they value."