242141 Role of Faith-Based Organizations in Adolescent Sexual Decision-Making

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:45 AM

Terrinieka Williams, PhD , School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Derek M. Griffith, PhD , School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Latrice Pichon, PhD , School of Public Health, Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Bettina Campbell, MSW , YOUR Center, Flint, MI
Darcy Dodd, BA , School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Understanding adolescent sexual decision-making is vital for intervention efforts aimed at promoting adolescent health. Faith-based organizations (FBOs) are a promising vehicle to help youth understand religious and cultural beliefs about sex and sexuality. This study explored African Americans' perceptions of the role FBOs may play in adolescent sexual decision-making. Nineteen adults participated in two focus groups and 30 adolescents participated in four focus groups at two predominantly African American FBOs. Participants were asked about the messages they hear about sex in church as well as current and desired sexual health resources available in their FBOs. Using a constant comparative approach, we found that adults mentioned having regular discussions with their children about sex, relationships and sexuality, but youth said the conversations are infrequent and consisted of the same message (e.g., do not have sex before marriage, premarital sex is wrong, homosexuality is a sin). Despite these differences, both adults and adolescents believed that FBOs could increase their influence on adolescent sexual decision-making by forming a support system for youth through activities that include a broader discussion about sex (e.g., abstinence, contraceptives, and emotional aspects of sex). Participants also acknowledged the advantages (e.g., ability to learn from others) and disadvantages (e.g., feelings of shame and guilt associated with discussing premarital sex) of using FBOs as venues to discuss sexual health. Findings suggest that FBOs might increase their influence on adolescent sexual decision-making by discussing a broader range of sexual health topics and offering more practical resources to support adolescent decision-making.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to: 1.Describe youth and adult perspectives on the role of faith-based organizations in HIV prevention. 2.Discuss the relevance and utility of including congregant perspectives of sexual health promotion efforts in FBOs. 3.Articulate key messages that faith-based organizations might offer to youth regarding sexual health that are both congruent with religious doctrine and of interest and value to youth.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Faith Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI of this project discussed in the proposal.
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.