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Emotion Regulation Program Cuts Risky Sex Behaviors in Youth

FRIDAY, May 11, 2018 -- An emotion regulation intervention reduced sexual risk behaviors among at-risk middle school students, according to a study published online May 10 in Pediatrics.

Christopher D. Houck, Ph.D., from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues compared an emotion regulation-focused program to a time- and attention-matched comparison group among seventh grade adolescents with suspected mental health symptoms, participating in a six-week, after-school sexual risk prevention trial.

The researchers found that students who received emotion regulation skills training exhibited a delay in the transition to vaginal sex over 30 months (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.61), as well as fewer instances of condomless sex over the follow-up period (adjusted rate ratio, 0.36), compared with the controls. In the emotion regulation group there were fewer reported instances of vaginal or anal sex among those who were sexually active (adjusted rate ratio, 0.57).

"Incorporating emotion education into health education may have important health implications for this age group," the authors write.

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Posted: May 2018