Cooperative communication is a promising strategy to enhance the performance of a communication network as it helps to improve the coverage area and the outage performance. However, such enhancement comes at the expense of increased resource utilization, which is undesirable; more so in the case of opportunistic wireless systems such as cognitive radio networks. In order to balance the performance gains from cooperative communication against the possible over-utilization of resources, we propose and analyze an adaptive-cooperation technique for underlay cognitive radio networks, termed as hybrid-cooperation. Under the proposed cooperation scheme, secondary users in a cognitive radio network cooperate adaptively to enhance the spectral efficiency and the error performance of the network. The bit error rate, the spectral efficiency and the outage performance of the network under the proposed hybrid cooperation scheme with amplify-and-forward relaying are analyzed in this paper, and compared against conventional cooperation technique. Findings of the analytical performance analyses are further validated numerically through selected computer-based Monte-Carlo simulations. The proposed scheme is found to achieve significantly better performance in terms of the spectral efficiency and the bit error rate, compared to the conventional amplify-and-forward cooperation scheme.