155224 Parental monitoring and sexual risk behaviors among African-American adolescents living in low-income neighborhoods

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Disa L. Cornish, MS , Department of Health Behavior, UAB School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL
Natalie G. De La Cruz, MPH, CHES , Department of Health Behavior, UAB School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL
Brad Lian, PhD , Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birminghama, AL
Lucy Annang, PhD , Department of Health Behavior, UAB School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL
John Bolland, PhD , College of Human & Environmental Services, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Background: Sexual risk (and STI prevalence) is increasing among low-income, minority adolescents. Research on parental monitoring and adolescent outcomes suggests that monitoring has protective effects. This research is somewhat limited in that it is based largely on studies which focus on narrow age groups and use cross-sectional designs with few controls and convenience samples.

Purpose: To more rigorously assess the effects of monitoring on sexual risk behaviors of low-income, urban adolescents.

Methods: Our study is based on data from the 1998-2005 (N = 7105) Mobile Youth Survey (MYS). The MYS is an ongoing multi-cohort longitudinal study of adolescents (randomly sampled, ages 9 to 19) living in extremely low-income neighborhoods in Mobile, Alabama. We assessed the relationship between monitoring at Time(t) and change in level of sexual risk behavior from Time(t) to Time(t+1), controlling for several psychosocial, family and demographic variables at Time(t).

Results: Parental monitoring was a consistent and significant predictor of positive changes in behaviors associated with sexual risk such as sexual initiation, number of partners in the past year and condom use (inverse, protective relationship). For example, controlling for age and gender, parental monitoring significantly predicted a decrease in recency and frequency of sex (B = -0.101, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Parental monitoring is related to sexual risk behavior among adolescents living in low-income neighborhoods. Its influence is often dynamic and age- and gender-specific. Implications of our results at the individual, community, and policy levels are discussed.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between parental monitoring and sexual risk behavior, as well as the effects of several covariates. Describe this relationship among a sample of low-income, urban adolescents. Identify new avenues for intervention to reduce sexual risk among very low income adolescents.

Keywords: Sexual Risk Behavior, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

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

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.