237849 Measuring motivations for secondary abstinence among African-American young women

Monday, October 31, 2011

Erin Bradley, MPH , Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Jessica Sales, PhD , Rollins School of Public Health Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Kirk W. Elifson, PhD , Department of Sociology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Ralph J. DiClemente, PhD , Rollins School of Public Health and Center for AIDS Research, Emory Univeristy, Atlanta, GA
Background: Some African-American young women abstain from sexual activity following sexual debut, a practice known as secondary abstinence. Although secondary abstinence may contribute to reducing HIV/STI-related risk in this population, little research attention has been devoted to understanding why these young women may choose to abstain. Further, the scope of the findings from previous studies may be limited by the quantitative approaches employed. Thus, the purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate motivations for secondary abstinence among African-American young women. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 sexually-experienced African-American young women, ages 18-23, who had completed an HIV-risk reduction program and expressed interest in abstinence. Grounded theory, an inductive approach consisting of systematic data collection and analysis techniques, was used to identify secondary abstinence motivations. Results: Motivations for secondary abstinence not identified in previous studies included feeling used for sex, partner infidelity, and abuse or sexual assault. Also, young women were motivated to abstain from sex in order to focus on improving various aspects of their lives. Respondents reported motivations similar to those identified in previous studies as well, including not being married or in a committed relationship, being away from one's partner, and STI and pregnancy experiences or fears. Conclusions: The information gained from this investigation can be used to improve survey measures of secondary abstinence motivations in African-American young women. Further, this knowledge can also be used to develop and refine HIV/STI interventions for this population.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the presentation, participants should be able to… 1) Describe sexually experienced African-American young women’s motivations for secondary abstinence. 2) Discuss ways that expanding our knowledge about motivations for secondary abstinence can contribute to improvements in both survey research and intervention research.

Keywords: Sexual Behavior, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present this research because I am a doctoral student studying abstinence perceptions and behaviors among sexually experienced African-American adolescent females. I earned an MPH in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education studying HIV/STI prevention among African-American adolescent females. I have also served in various capacities for HIV/STI prevention intervention studies with this population.
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.