185370 Psychosocial predictors of adolescent sexual initiation: A case for HIV/AIDS prevention in the Caribbean

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tenesha Berry, MA , School of Science & Technology, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Kiti Freier Randall, PhD , School of Science & Technology, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Jason E. Owen, PhD, MPH , Department of Psychology, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Duane C. McBride, PhD , Behavioral Science Department, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI
Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH , Center for Prevention Research, Center for Media Impact Research, Andrews University, Careywood, ID
Carlos Archbold, PhD , Miami Dade College, Miami, FL
Introduction: Literature suggests that early sexual initiation in adolescence is associated with greater likelihood of having multiple sex partners and lower likelihood of using protection. Accordingly, delaying sexual initiation may be an important combatant to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. This study's objective was to examine the relationships between perception of peers' and parents' pro-risk attitudes, parental monitoring, parental discussions about sex; religious importance, HIV/AIDS knowledge, and sexual initiation in Jamaican youth.

Methods: Data were collected at three Jamaican secondary schools as part of a larger, IRB approved study assessing youth risk behaviors. The study survey included demographic information and questions from the Center for Disease Control's Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and assessed health risk prevalence including sexual activity and HIV/AIDS knowledge.

Results: 234 youth ages 13 through 19 participated (198 males, 136 females). Univariate logistic regression analyses demonstrated that perception of mothers' (OR=1.96, p<.001), peers' (OR=1.78, p<.001), and fathers' (OR=1.47, p=.002) as pro-risk, parental monitoring (OR=.63, p<.001), and religiosity (OR=.63, p<.001) significantly distinguished between the groups. When significant predictors were entered hierarchically, maternal influence (OR=1.59, p=.05) peer influence (OR=1.41, p=.01), parental monitoring (OR=.69, p=.001), and religiosity (O=.64, p=.02) were significant distinguishing factors while paternal influence lost significance.

Conclusions: Adolescent perception of their mothers as pro-risk is more predictive of sexual initiation than perception of peers as pro-risk, and parental monitoring and religiosity are protective factors. Further investigations into how these psychosocial factors may be important in youth HIV/AIDS prevention/intervention is crucial.

Learning Objectives:
Idenify psychosocial predictors of early sexual initiation that will guide the development of intervention programs aimed at mitigating the spread of HIV/AIDS among adolescents in the Caribbean

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have no monetary or other conflict of interest and I have been a part of the research team for this study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.

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