242713 Out of Control: Factors associated with perceived relationship control among African-American adolescent girls

Monday, October 31, 2011: 1:10 PM

Teaniese L. Davis, MPH , Rollins School of Public Health Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Lorin S. Boyce, MA , Behavioral Sciences Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Jessica M. Sales, PhD , Rollins School of Public Health Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Eve S. Rose, MSPH , Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Ralph J. DiClemente, PhD , Rollins School of Public Health and Center for AIDS Research, Emory Univeristy, Atlanta, GA
INTRODUCTION: The theory of gender and power emphasizes power imbalances in sexual relationships, in which African-American women have less control than their male partners, may place women at increased risk for STD/HIV acquisition. This study explores factors related to woman's perceived of control in sexual partnerships.

METHODS: 701 African-American adolescent females aged 14-20 years completed an ACASI as part of an STD/HIV prevention program. Demographics, abuse history, condom use, STD history, sexual behaviors, information about male sexual partners and relationships, and perceived control in relationship were assessed at baseline, prior to participation in the intervention.

RESULTS: Contingency table analyses observed that adolescents with lower perceived relationship control were significantly less satisfied in their relationship (p=.001), less likely to use condoms at last sex (p=.011), more likely to have a prior STD (p=.017), and more likely to perceive that their male partner has concurrent relationships (p=.001). Multivariate results indicate that male partner concurrency (AOR 2.42, p=.001), relationship satisfaction (AOR=2.31, p=.001), and condom use at last sex (AOR=0.69, p=.052) remain significantly associated with adolescents having less perceived relationship control.

CONCLUSION: Adolescent females with less control in sexual relationships had markedly higher risk behaviors. Risk-reduction interventions should offer tools for increasing adolescents' sense of control in relationship, as well as selecting male partners who support egalitarian relationships where power is balanced. HIV/STD risk-reduction interventions with females and males should encourage relationships where power is balanced and assist with resources in unhealthy relationships.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Define perceived relationship control. 2. Identify factors associated with relationship control among African American adolescent females. 3. Discuss how HIV/STD risk reduction interventions can increase adolescentsí sense of control in sexual relationships.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present this research because I have 10 years experience developing and implementing HIV/STD risk reduction interventions for African American adolescent females.
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.