148089 African-American adolescent women's sexual socialization and the sexual double standard: Implications for heterosexual risk reduction

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 1:00 PM

Amy M. Fasula, MPH, PhD , Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Kim S. Miller, MA, PhD , Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Jeffrey Wiener, MS , Division of Reproductive Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Background: One avenue for addressing HIV health disparities for African-American women is to understand how gender socialization affects the heterosexual context. One relevant aspect of gender socialization is the sexual double standard (SDS), where males are afforded more freedom and power than females in heterosexual interactions. Objective: We explored the SDS in African-American mothers' sexual messages to sons and daughters specifically for daughters' sexual risk reduction socialization. Methods: We used a convenience sample of 129 African-American mother-adolescent dyads from the Bronx, NY (n=45) and Montgomery, AL (n=84) who reported SDS attitudes. Adolescents were aged 14-17. We analyzed open-ended responses from structured interviews using the constant comparative method, comparing adolescents' gender (female n=68; male n=61) and adolescent sexual behavior (sexually active n=51; non-sexually active n=77) to identify gender differences in mothers' and adolescents' reports of mothers' messages about sexual topics. Results: Analyses revealed gender differences based on a SDS in mothers' sexual risk reduction socialization. Mothers typically took a proactive approach with sons and a neutral or prohibitive approach with daughters. Mothers used sons' sexual interest as impetus for sexual guidance. They often encouraged sons to carry and use condoms, and some provided sons with condoms. However, daughters' sexual interest often resulted in restrictions and arguments; mothers did not provide daughters with condoms, and some explicitly discouraged daughters' sexual risk reduction preparedness. Conclusion: Findings provide directions for socially relevant programs for African-American parents, schools, and communities to provide male and female adolescents guidance, resources, and encouragement for sexual risk reduction behaviors.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the effects of the sexual double standard on adolescent African-American women’s sexual risk reduction socialization. 2. List the gender differences in the content and process of mothers’ socialization for sexual risk reduction for adolescent sons and daughters. 3. Develop socially relevant programs for male and female African-American adolescents that challenge the negative effects of the sexual double standard on sexual risk reduction.

Keywords: Gender, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

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