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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3088.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 11:00 AM

Abstract #112920

Relationship Between HIV Risk, Unmitigated Communion, and Relationship Power in African-American Women

Kanika Harris, BA, Master of Public Health Program, Morehouse School of Medicine, 720 Westview Dr. SW, Atlanta, GA 30331, 404-752-1500, kanikaalake@hotmail.com, Larry M. Gant, CSW, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, 1080 S. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, Carl V. Hill, MPH, Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, The University of Michigan, 109 S. Observatory Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, and Deborah Ann Brodie, PhD, Deborah Ann Brodie, Ph.D. PC, Deborah Ann Brodie, Ph.D. PC, 3011 West Grand Blvd, Ste. 418, Detroit, MI 48202.

African-American women between the ages of 18-36 are the fastest growing population infected with HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2003) reports that over 60 percent of infections in this age cohort can be attributed to heterosexual contact. Research suggests that power dynamics within relationships can have associations with HIV risk. In addition, Helegeson et al (1998) report that women scoring higher on a measurement of unmitigated communion (e.g. focus on others and exclusion of self) have higher symptoms of depression and poorer health behaviors. Pulerwitz's Sexual Relationship Power Scale provides empirical evidence that relationship power plays a significant role in safer sex decision making in predominately Caucasian and Hispanic populations. We hypothesize that African-American women scoring low on relationship power scale and high on unmitigated communion scale will have an increased risk for HIV infection. The Pulerwitz and Helgeson questionnaire was used to explore the relationship between HIV risk and relationship power with a random sample of African-American women ages 18 and older (N=127) in Detroit, Michigan. The factorial analysis and Cronbach's alpha test reveal that the instrument is reliable and valid. The bivariate correlations reported that relationship power is strongly correlated with HIV Risk with a significance of .00 (p<.05). The ranking scores from the Sexual Relationship Power Scale regressed on HIV Risk at .000 ( = -.043, p>.05). Results of linear regressions between Sexual Relationship Power and HIV Risk revealed that relationship power can explain 34 percent of the variance in HIV Risk.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: African American, HIV Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Sexual Health and Personal Responsibility: The Burden of HIV/AIDS on the African-American Community

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA