207978 Applying Ecological Perspectives to Adolescent Sexual Health: Rhetoric or Reality

Monday, November 9, 2009: 1:10 PM

Erin Bradley, MPH , Rollins School of Public Health Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Laura F. Salazar, PhD , Rollins School of Public Health and Center for AIDS Research, Emory Univeristy, Atlanta, GA
Sinead Younge, PhD , Department of Psychology, Morehouse College, Decatur, GA
Nichole Daluga, MPH , Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Richard A. Crosby, PhD , Department of Health Behavior, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, Lexington, KY
Delia Lang, PhD MPH , Rollins School of Public Health and Center for AIDS Research, Emory Univeristy, Atlanta, GA
Ralph J. DiClemente, PhD , Rollins School of Public Health and Center for AIDS Research, Emory Univeristy, Atlanta, GA
This study sought to determine the perspective taken toward understanding adolescent sexual behaviors that put one at risk for HIV/STIs. We content analyzed 324 abstracts representing observational research published between January 1990 and December 2007 for inclusion of ecological factors, level of analysis, sample composition and type of behavioral and biological outcomes (i.e., sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy). A majority (95%) of studies included individual characteristics; half were void of any environmental factors. Of those including environmental factors, 27% included familial, 23% community, 13% relational and 3% societal factors. Most (80%) were positioned at the individual level of analysis. Samples were diverse (43%) and of mixed gender (71%). Biomarkers of STD (7.5%) or pregnancy outcomes (2%) were rare. Ecological inclusion was not related to year of publication. Despite the rhetoric highlighting the importance of an ecological perspective in understanding adolescent sexual risk behavior, much published research excludes environmental influences.

Learning Objectives:
1.) Evaluate the extent to which ecological perspectives have been utilized in investigations of adolescent sexual health and behavior conducted since 1990. 2.) Discuss the importance of the ecological paradigm for understanding adolescent sexual health and behavior.

Keywords: Sexual Risk Behavior, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received my MPH in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education and am pursuing a PhD in the same area. I have been involved in HIV prevention efforts through health education and research since 2002.
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.