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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 3

Abstract #116369

Parents’ and pastors’ perceptions of sexuality among religiously active African-American youth

Kenneth J. Steinman, PhD, MPH1, Townsand Price-Spratlen, PhD2, Jason Whitesel2, Linda James Myers, PhD3, Korie Edwards, PhD2, and Elizabeth Cooksey, PhD2. (1) School of Public Health, Division of Health Behavior and Health Promotion, Ohio State University, 436 Cunz Hall, 1841 Millikin Road, Columbus, OH 43210, 614/292-3158, steinman.13@osu.edu, (2) Deparment of Sociology, The Ohio State University, Bricker Hall, 190 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210, (3) Department of African-American & African Studies, The Ohio State University, 386 University Hall, 230 North Oval, Columbus, OH 43210

A collaborative research project funded by the CDC, Columbus Congregations for Healthy Youth (CoCHY) aims to understand the potential and limitations of faith-based approaches to adolescent sexual health promotion. Specifically, the project is working with African-American churches to learn why religiosity appears to discourage some young people from risky sexual behavior but not others. Towards this end, CoCHY conducted focus groups with the parents of teenagers (n=59) in seven congregations and another series of three focus groups with youth pastors and other church leaders who regularly interact with young people (n=22). Annotated transcripts of the focus groups were analyzed collaboratively by a group of university researchers and congregational representatives (see abstract # 112045). This paper summarizes parents' and pastors' perceptions of how different dimensions of religion (i.e., social networks, practices, beliefs) influence different dimensions of sexuality (intimacy, pregnancy, intercourse). Of particular interest are participants' descriptions of what constitute a ‘safe' romantic relationship; the appropriate role of the church in controlling teens' sexual behavior; distinctions between peers at church versus those at school; and how parents respond to children's worrisome behavior when it reminds them of their own youth. We also report on similarities and differences between the perceptions of parents and those of pastors. These findings provide a wealth of data for developing testable hypotheses that will guide the projects' other research activities. We discuss how these hypotheses relate to extant research as well as their implications for adolescent sexual health promotion.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to

Keywords: Sexuality, Adolescents

Related Web page: medicine.osu.edu/cochy/

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