239917 Reducing Young Women's Sexual Risk in Rural Kenya: The Role of Mother-Daughter Communication

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 9:10 AM

Jessica Velcoff, PhD , Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Hilary Runion, BA , Center for Community Research, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Katherine Cloutier, BA , Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Carlie Trott, BA , Department of Psychology, Colorado State Unviersity, Fort Collins, CO
Gary W. Harper, PhD, MPH , Department of Psychology and MPH Program, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Background: Young women in Kenya significantly are more likely to be infected with HIV and other STIs than their male counterparts. Kenyan health-focused institutions have made a call to include parents in prevention programs. This study explored the role of communication between mothers and daughters in sexual risk reduction among young women in rural Kenya.

Methods: Individual qualitative interviews were conducted with 19 mothers (biological and primary care givers) and 19 daughters (15-19 years) living in rural Kenya. Interview questions were based on the Parent-Based Expansion of the Theory of Planned Behavior. Using narrative and phenomenological approaches, interviews investigated mother-daughter conversations about sexual health and how those conversations impacted daughters' sexual risk and preventive behaviors. Interview recordings were transcribed verbatim, thematically coded, then meta-matrices were used to conduct cross-case and comparative analyses.

Results: Mothers were found to have a strong impact on daughters' sexual health knowledge and risk reduction strategies. Three broader themes emerged that influenced the types of sexual health-related messages communicated by mothers: 1) Cultural/Religious Factors: both groups discussed cultural/religious influences on communication (e.g. a general silence around sexual heath, perpetuation of cultural myths). 2) Limited Sexual Health Knowledge: comprehensive sexual health knowledge among both groups was low and conversations were often limited to the promotion of abstinence. 3) Promotion of Sex-Negative Beliefs: both groups emphasized that sex before marriage is immoral.

Implications: Prevention programs for young Kenyan women should include mothers, incorporate sex positive approaches, and elucidate comprehensive sexual health education and various risk reduction methods.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the sexual health disparities experienced among young women in Kenya. 2. Assess the utility of the Parent-Based Expansion of the Theory of Planned Behavior for research on parent-child communication. 3. Evaluate the manner in which cultural and religious messages influence communication and sexual risk reduction in Kenya. 4. Identify culturally-based factors that should be considered in developing prevention interventions for young women in Kenya.

Keywords: HIV Interventions, Women and HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have experience in Kenya-based HIV prevention and sexual health research, along with US-based HIV prevention program development and supervision.
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.