Medical News

When They Break Up and Get Back Together: Length of Adolescent Romantic Relationships and Partner Concurrency

April 16, 2012

Given the important role sex partner concurrency plays as an STD risk factor, the authors introduced the current study by noting that gaining an understanding of how teenagers "conceptualize the length of their relationships when they break up and get back together is essential to the assessment of concurrency."

From two clinics in Baltimore, a prospective cohort of 392 people ages 14-19 at baseline were recruited. In semiannual interviews conducted during a three-year period, the youths were asked to report on all their sex partners in the previous six months, the length of the relationship, and whether they thought their partner had other sex partners. For relationships that had involved breaking up and getting back together, reports of the relationship's length were compared before and after the breakup. The association between length of relationship and both breakup and partner concurrency was examined using random effects logistic regression.

In relationships where the partners had broken up and gotten back together, participants indicated that they considered the length of the relationship to be inclusive of the period when they were broken up. Longer relationships had increased odds of both having broken up and gotten back together (odds ratio=1.04, 95 percent confidence interval: 1.02, 1.05) and of partner concurrency (OR=1.03, 95 percent CI 1.02, 1.04). The odds of concurrency were higher in relationships where the partners had broken up and reunited (OR=1.07, 95 percent CI: 1.02, 1.11).

"Findings from this study emphasize the need for an improved understanding of the association between the temporal dynamics of late adolescent and emerging adult romantic relationships and concurrency," the authors concluded.

Back to other news for April 2012

Adapted from:
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
04.2012; Vol. 39; No. 4: P. 281-285; Pamela Ann Matson, Shang-en Chung, Jonathan Mark Ellen

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.

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