Prevalence and Correlates of Recent Vaginal Douching among African American Adolescent Females

R. J. DiClemente, A. M. Young, J. L. Painter, G. M. Wingood, E. Rose, J. M. Sales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Study Objective: To describe the prevalence and correlates of vaginal douching among urban African American adolescents and to examine the association between douching and sexually transmitted infection (STI) status. Design: Demographic, psychosocial, and behavioral data were collected through cross-sectional, self-administered surveys. Self-collected vaginal swabs were assayed using nucleic acid amplification tests for trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Setting: Sexual health clinic in a large metropolitan area of the southeastern United States. Participants: African American females (N = 701), ages 14-20, participating in a human immunodeficiency virus prevention intervention. Main Outcome Measure: The outcome of interest was the association between vaginal douching (lifetime, past 90 days, and past 7 days) with demographic characteristics (eg, age, education, and socioeconomic status), physical and mental health status, STI status, sexual behavior (eg, number of vaginal sexual partners, age of sex partners, consistent condom use in the past 90 days, sex while self/partner was high on drugs or alcohol), and psychosocial characteristics (eg, sexual adventurism, social support, peer norms, sexual satisfaction, self-efficacy for sex refusal, self-esteem, relationship power, risk avoidance). Results: Forty-three percent reported ever douching, and 29% reported douching in the past 90 days. In bivariate analyses, recent douching was associated with demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial variables, but not current STI status. In multivariate analyses, recent douching was associated with age (odds ratio [AOR] = 1.13, confidence interval [CI] = 1.02-1.25), lower socioeconomic status (AOR = 1.25, CI = 1.05-1.47), and having sex with much older partners (AOR = 1.87, CI = 1.22-2.86). Conclusion: Increased age, lower socioeconomic status, and older partners may be salient risk factors for douching behavior among African American young women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-53
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded through a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, NIH ( 5 R01 MH070537-08 ). Support was also received from Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) ( P30-A150409 ), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (J. Painter) ( T32AI074492 ), and a K-award ( K01 MH085506 ) from the National Institute of Mental Health (J. Sales).


  • Adolescents
  • African American
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Vaginal douching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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