The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3392.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 9:30 PM

Abstract #65890

Sexual risk behavior among African-American adolescents: A model of the effects of parental support

Stevenson Fergus, MPH, Tracey E. Barnett, PhD, and Marc Zimmerman, PhD. School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1420 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, 734-302-3089,

Previous research suggests that parental social support can influence adolescent psychological distress. Researchers have also suggested that psychological distress can influence adolescent sexual risk behavior, and this relationship has been shown to be partially mediated by drug use. Many of these relationships operate differently for males as compared to females. Few studies have tested these relationships in one comprehensive model, and those that have include samples that are overwhelmingly white. Using a predominantly (79%) African-American sample of 611 urban high school students, we developed and tested a structural equation model that links support received from mother and father, to three measures of sexual risk behavior: condom use, number of partners, and drug use during sex. Variables hypothesized to mediate these relationships included psychological distress and drug use. We further investigate gender differences. The model fit the data well (c2(462)=916.49; NFI=.89; NNFI=.93; CFI=.94; RMSEA=.04). Mother support predicted less psychological distress, but only among females (b=.25, p<.05). Psychological distress predicted the number of partners among females (b=.13, p<.05), but did not directly predict any of the other risk behaviors among males or females. In contrast, drug use predicted number of partners (female b=.45, p<.05; male b=.42, p<.05), less frequent use of condoms (female b=.24, p<.05; male b=.28, p<.05), and more drug use during sex (female b=.74, p<.05; male b=.66, p<.05). Our results suggest that psychological distress and drug use mediate the relationship between parental social support and sexual risk behaviors among African-American adolescents. Implications for HIV/AIDS prevention are discussed.

Learning Objectives:

Awards: Excellence in Abstract Submission among Student APHA Members and Winner of the HIV/AIDS Section Student Scholarship - Winner

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

HIV and Special Populations: Adolescents

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA