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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3250.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - Board 10

Abstract #114011

Influence of modifiable protective factors on sexual behavior among adolescents

Elizabeth M. Gaier Larkin, BA, Bridget Haas, MSSA, Jean Frank, MPH, and Sarah N. Sylvia, PhD. Center for Adolescent Health, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave., School of Medicine, WG-48, Cleveland, OH 44106, 216 368-4884, elizabethlarkin@yahoo.com

Purpose: To explore the influence of modifiable protective factors on sexual behavior among an urban adolescent population. Methods: A sample of 1260 urban high school students completed a modified Youth Risk Behavior Survey which included items regarding paternal and maternal closeness, family management, antisocial peer associations, neighborhood disorganization, school connectedness, time spent in structured after school engagements (e.g., job, volunteering, after school program), and number of trusted adults. Structural equation modeling was used to determine the fit of a preventive model of sexual behavior as well as provide information about the processes of influence on sexual behavior. Results: The measurement component of the model had acceptable fit: chi-square(308, N=1260)=1186.77, CFI=.92, CFI=.94, TLI=.93, RMSEA=.05. Structural model analysis indicated maternal closeness was correlated with sexual behavior (&beta=.13) through its influence on family management (&beta=.53) and antisocial peer association (&beta=-.13) while antisocial peer association had the largest impact on sexual behavior directly (&beta=.29, p<.001). Unexpectedly, higher engagement in after school activities was significantly associated with engaging in risky sexual behavior, although the magnitude of this association was small (&beta=.11, p<.001). Also unexpected, school connectedness was not related to sexual behavior (&beta=-.01, p=.68) despite strong support for this association in the literature. Conclusions: There are a number of modifiable protective factors of risky sexual behavior. In this urban population, it is important to strengthen the maternal bond such that adolescent association with antisocial peers is reduced and unacceptable sexual behavior is avoided.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session the participants will be able to

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.


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