Neural Correlates of Risky Sex and Response Inhibition in High-Risk Adolescents

Natasha S. Hansen, Rachel E. Thayer, Sarah W. Feldstein Ewing, Amithrupa Sabbineni, Angela D. Bryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Adolescence is a neurodevelopmental period of heightened sexual risk taking. Neuroimaging can help elucidate crucial neurocognitive mechanisms underlying adolescent sexual risk behavior, yet few empirical studies have investigated this neural link. To address this gap in the literature, we examined the association between neurocognitive function during response inhibition—a known correlate of risk behaviors—and frequency of intercourse without a condom among adolescents. We examined the correlation between condom use and fMRI-based Stroop response in a large ethnically diverse sample of high-risk adolescents (n = 171). Partially replicating previous literature, sexual risk was positively correlated with blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) activation in the middle frontal gyrus during response inhibition, highlighting the relevance of this region during risky sexual decision making within this age group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-69
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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