207670 Young African American women's perspectives on communication with mother-figures about sexual health and well-being

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dara Mendez, MPH, PhD , Center for Minority Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Michele Tracy Berger, PhD , College of Arts and Sciences, Curriculum in Women's Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Sharon Parker, MSW, MS , School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Background: Intergenerational communication may be vital for understanding the health of young women.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to understand communication between African American mothers and daughters surrounding overall health, sexual health and well-being.

Methods: Five focus groups with daughters and five focus groups with mothers were conducted in the Triangle Region of North Carolina. Major questions explored were: (1) How do mothers and daughters communicate about the role and importance of overall health and sexual health? (2) How do mothers and daughters map and define issues of risk, access, opportunity and fear in relation to health? (3) How do mothers communicate about issues of ‘young womanhood' to their daughters that signal a different and unique phase of life?

Results: The results presented here reflect the daughter focus groups. Daughters in the study ranged in ages from 12-17. The young women had various definitions for health ranging from health behaviors such as smoking cessation to maintaining a healthy social environment. Findings indicate daughters rely on their mothers for health advice but do not disclose all information regarding their sexual health. Many daughters also depend upon other women in their family or close friends when navigating issues regarding their health.

Conclusions: The results will be helpful in developing a collaborative, intersectional community health program aimed at addressing the increase in HIV and other STI's and to create a safe space for southern African American women to discuss their health and well-being.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe intergenerational communication as a mechanism for discussing health issues.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: N/A
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.