This longitudinal study tested the hypothesis that neurobehavioral disinhibition (ND) in childhood, mediated by alcohol use, portends risky sexual behavior (number of sexual partners) in midadolescence.
Participants were 410 adolescent boys. Neurobehavioral disinhibition was assessed at 11.3 years of age. Frequency and quantity of alcohol use on a typical drinking occasion were assessed at 13.4 years of age at first follow-up, and sexual behavior at 16.0 years at second follow-up.
Quantity of alcohol consumed on a typical drinking occasion, but not frequency of alcohol use, mediated the relation between ND and number of sexual partners.
These findings indicate that number of sexual partners in midadolescence is predicted by individual differences in boys' psychological self-regulation during childhood and moderate alcohol consumption in early adolescence, and that ND may be a potential target for multi-outcome public health interventions.
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