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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Psychological and behavioural factors associated with sexual risk behaviour among Slovak students

Ondrej Kalina1, Andrea M Geckova1, Pavol Jarcuska2, Olga Orosova1, Jitse P van Dijk13 and Sijmen A Reijneveld3*

Author Affiliations

1 Kosice Institute for Society and Health. Department of Educational Psychology and Health Psychology, Faculty of Arts, P.J. Safarik University, Moyzesova 50, Kosice, 04059, Slovakia

2 Department of Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, P.J. Safarik University, Tr. SNP 1, Kosice, 04066, Slovakia

3 Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, PO Box 30,001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9:15  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-15

Published: 13 January 2009



Knowledge about the prevalence of sexual risk behaviour (SRB) in adolescence is needed to prevent unwanted health consequences. Studies on SRB among adolescents in Central Europe are rare and mostly rely on a single indicator for SRB. This study aims to assess the association of behavioural and psychological factors with three types of SRB in adolescents in Central Europe.


We obtained data on behavioural factors (having been drunk during previous month, smoking during previous week, early sexual initiation), psychological factors (self-esteem, well-being, extroversion, neuroticism, religiousness), and SRB (intercourse under risky conditions, multiple sexual partners, and inconsistent condom use) in 832 Slovak university students (response 94.3%).


Among those with sexual experience (62%), inconsistent condom use was the most prevalent risk behaviour (81% in females, 72% in males). With the exception of having been drunk in males, no factor was associated with inconsistent condom use. Regarding the other types of SRB, early sexual initiation was most strongly associated. In addition, other, mostly behavioural, factors were associated, in particular having been drunk.


Results suggest that behavioural factors are more closely related to SRB than psychological factors. Associations differ by type of SRB and gender but offer few clues to target risk groups for inconsistent condom use. Results show a high need for health-promotion programmes in early adolescence that target SRB in conjunction with other health risk behaviours such as alcohol abuse.