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The relationship between depressed/anxiety symptoms & sexual behaviour

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    An exploratory study examining the relationship between symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sexual risk-taking behaviour



  • Contact name

    Ross White

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Department of Research and Development, University Hospital Crosshouse

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    0 years, 4 months, 4 days

  • Research summary

    Symptoms of depression and anxiety can contribute to sexual risk-taking behaviour (e.g. non-condom use). This is associated with unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infection, which constitute significant public health concerns. Sexual risk-taking may result from an association between depression and/or anxiety symptoms and impulsivity. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that depression and/or anxiety symptoms may increase sexual activity for some individuals as a means to regulate mood, achieve need for intimacy and self-validation. To the best of the author’s knowledge, there has been no study examining the relationship between depression and anxiety symptoms and how this relates to sexual risk-taking behaviour, impulsivity, and sexual interest. Consequently, there is limited evidence in this area to inform clinical practice and public health policy.
    The aims of this study are to: 1. Explore the association between depression and anxiety symptoms and sexual risk-taking, sexual interest, and impulsivity; and 2. Investigate how these factors relate to various participant socio-demographic variables. Individuals aged 16 years and over, attending an inner-city sexual health clinic, will be asked to anonymously complete a survey containing validated questionnaires measuring depression and anxiety symptoms, impulsivity, and sexual interest during negative mood states. Completion can be paper-based whilst in the waiting room and away from the clinic (e.g. at home), or electronically using an internet link.
    Effective screening of depression and anxiety symptoms within sexual health clinic settings may provide an opportunity for assessment and intervention for both mental health difficulties and sexual risk-taking behaviour.

  • REC name

    West of Scotland REC 4

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    13 Feb 2015

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion

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