Risk Factors

Dr. Weissglass, a psychologist in New York, completed this research to determine the risk factors associated with early sexual debut. Many r

As a trained therapist in New York, Dr. Weissglass is aware of each of these factors.  While neighborhood factors, peer relationships, exposure to media, and biological development cannot be as readily targeted by clinicians, family factors can be effectively addressed by a psychologist in New York.

From the research examining family influence, a myriad of familial factors have been associated with adolescent sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy including parental monitoring, communication between parents and adolescents, and the quality of parent-adolescent relationships (Claes et al., 2005; Fitzharris and Werner-Wilson, 2004; Smith, 1997; Treboux and Busch-Rossnagel, 1995).  As a therapist in New York, Dr. Weissglass is able to address each of these factors.  Further, some studies have found that parental factors are more important than peer factors in influencing adolescents’ sexual attitudes and behaviors (Fasula and Miller, 2006).  A therapist in New York can offer techniques to address each of these factors.

While many researchers have examined these factors associated with teenage mothers, not as many researchers have focused on high-risk adolescents prior to pregnancy, such as those with early sexual debut.  Few studies have used this information of protective and risk factors related to family influences to evaluate existing and potential treatment models (Olsson et al., 2003).  As a psychologist in New York, Dr. Weissglass can evaluate all potential therapy techniques.

This clinical research project by a psychologist in New York, Dr. Cortney Weissglass, seeks to investigate the familial factors involved with adolescent females' early sexual debut including familial structure, communication between parents and adolescents, and the quality of parent-adolescent relationships.  Some meta-analyses have found that, overall, interventions to reduce teen pregnancy that target parent-adolescent communication are not effective (DiCenso, Guyatt, Willan, and Griffith, 2002) while others argue that they are (McKay, Fisher, Maticka-Tyndale, and Barrett, 2001). 

Findings have not been consistent and empirical studies examining the efficacy of programs directed at early sexual debut are limited.  The limited and debated efficacy of these interventions points a psychologist in New York to the need to include other identified important familial factors such as parental monitoring and family functioning.  In addition, early sexual debut is often associated with other negative factors such as substance abuse, disrupted family relationships, and delinquency (Crockett, Bingham, Chopak, and Vicary, 1996; Manders et al., 2006). 

Each of these negative factors can be addressed by a therapist in New York. All of these behaviors have risk and protective factors in common such as temperament, family relationships, and peer relationships (Compas, 2004).  It is hypothesized then, that improving family relationships and parent-child functioning will serve as a protective factor and thus lessen these problematic and risky behaviors among adolescent females.

Written by Dr. Cortney Weissglass as part of Clinical Research Project submitted to the Faculty of the American School of Professional Psychology of Argosy University, Washington, DC Campus, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. Dissertation chair: Ann Womack, PhD and Member: Jennifer McEwan, PhD. August, 2010.

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Resource Box: In September 20120, Dr. Cortney Weissglass will be a  http://www.drcortneyweissglass.com therapist in New York.  As a licensed  http://www.drcortneyweissglass.com psychologist in New York, she will be offering therapy services to clients of all backgrounds.