202313 Effect of father figure on frequency and recency of sexual activity: Gender differences in low-income African American adolescents

Monday, November 9, 2009

Puroitree Majumdar , Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA
Allison Rose Lindquist , School of Public Health, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Elise Katharina Belusa , Global Studies, University of Minnesota, Seattle, WA
Using data from the Mobile Youth Survey (MYS), a multiple cohort longitudinal study of adolescent risk conducted in neighborhoods (2000 census median poverty, 57.2%). MYS collected data annually from 7500 adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18 with 98.7% being African-American. The analyses included youth who participated in at least two waves: one under 12 and the second at 12 or later. Sexual activity was assessed as the frequency and recency of sexual intercourse. Two models were created; model 1 included father presence/absence, gender, and age as independent variables; model 2 included biological vs. non-biological father, gender, and age as independent variables. Both models estimated all interaction terms.

Model 1 yielded statistically significant results suggesting respondents' sexual activity increases as a linear function of age, with a steeper slope for those without a father figure during early adolescence than for those with one. Model 2 yielded statistically significant results suggesting sexual activity for females without a biological father during early adolescence increases at a steeper rate through later adolescence than for females with a biological father during early adolescence; in comparison, sexual behavior of males was not correlated with the biological variable.

Results are congruent with previous studies showing that the father-child relationship affects adolescent sexual activity. However, the longitudinal nature of the data, and the significant interaction terms and lack of main effect for father figure, suggest father-child relationships may be more complex than previously considered.

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate how presence or absence of a biological and non-biological father figure during early adolescence affects the trajectories of sexual intercourse during later adolescence. 2. Compare gender differences in order to affectively assess why sexual behavior choices are correlated to the presence/absence of father figure; particularly due to the lack of literature for father-child relationship as a predictor of adolescent sexual risk. 3. Analyze two latent growth models to better understand complexities of father-child relationships, gender differences, and the effects these have on adolescent sexual activity.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Gender

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Work in research clinic collecting quantitative and qualitative data; Research intern working with the Mobile Youth Survey, a longitudinal study on adolescent poverty and behavioral risks;
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.