243977 Understanding the rest of the story about rap music and risky behaviors: Identity, esteem, and empowerment

Monday, October 31, 2011

Raphael Travis Jr., DrPH, LCSW , School of Social Work, Texas State University - San Marcos, San Marcos, TX
Scott Bowman, PhD , Department of Criminal Justice, Texas State University - San Marcos, San Marcos, TX
Concerns about the potential relationship between exposure to rap music and risky health behaviors have prompted research to determine the validity of these concerns. Evidence has been found correlating exposure to rap music with negative health-related outcomes (Wingood et al., 2003). But, health enhancing correlations have also been found (Ward et al., 2006), along with the influence of other constructs such as identity (Zhang et al., 2009). This study builds upon this prior research, including examination of identity and self-esteem as factors to help explain the potential role of Hip-Hop culture and rap music in facilitating empowerment or risk at the individual and community levels. Data were analyzed via structural equation modeling from a convenience sample of 128 high school and college students. The full model demonstrated modest fit (Chi-square (df) 50.29 (27); CFI .925; RMSEA .084), but very strong support for hypothesized variable pathways. Notable paths included identity predicting esteem and both individual and community empowerment, while esteem predicted rap music influence on risk attitudes. Hours of viewership, a predictor in prior studies, was not a significant influence on risk. Simple exposure to rap music does not seem to be a major influence on variability in risky attitudes and behaviors. Youth likely have complex perspectives about music, including both empowering and risky attitudes about its content and impact. Identity and self-esteem may be important dimensions to consider for interventions that incorporate Hip-Hop culture or seek to buffer the potential negative impacts of high risk content.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Define the individual and community empowerment (ICE) framework for interpreting the content and health-related impacts of Hip-Hop/rap music. 2. Analyze the relationships among identity, esteem, empowerment and risk. 3. Discuss specific opportunities for health-enhancing interventions utilizing Hip-Hop culture.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Health Risks

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an active researcher in adolescent health and positive youth development. I am also a licensed clinical social worker.
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.