247798 Role of multiple family members in promoting the sexual and reproductive health of African American adolescents

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:30 PM

Gary W. Harper, PhD, MPH , Department of Psychology and MPH Program, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Donald Tyler, MA , Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
April Timmons, MA , Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Darnell Motley, BA , Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Joseph Catania, PhD , Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Cherrie B. Boyer, PhD , Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
M. Margaret Dolcini, PhD , Department of Public Health, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Since adolescents often live with and are influenced by family members, it is critical to understand the role that family members play in shaping sexual and reproductive risk and health behaviors. This study examined the range of messages that sexually active adolescents receive from multiple family members regarding sexual/reproductive behaviors among African American youth, and the implications this has for sexual health interventions.

A purposive sample of 51 sexually active African American youth (male=32; female=19; aged 15-17) living in low-income neighborhoods in 2 cities with high rates of HIV/STIs/teen pregnancy was enrolled. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted, recorded, transcribed and analyzed using a pheonomonological framework.

Family messages regarding sexual/reproductive behaviors were categorized into three thematic areas: sexual decision making, quantity/quality of sexual activity, and sexual health promotion. Sexual decision making messages included those related to: a) selection of sex partners, b) avoidance of sexual activity, c) parental monitoring of sexual activity, d) normative sexual acts, and e) consequences of sexual activity. Quantity/quality messages included those related to: a) number of sex partners, b) physiological aspects of sex, and c) sexual communication. Sexual health promotion messages included those related to: a) pregnancy prevention, b) disease prevention, c) and sexual health maintenance behaviors.

Results demonstrate that family members discuss an array of complex issues related to sexual and reproductive health/risk, reflecting a desire to protect the sexual health of adolescents. Findings suggest that family members should be actively engaged in public health interventions focused on promoting sexual health among African American adolescents.

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

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objective 1: To discuss the potential influence of multiple family members on the sexual and reproductive health behaviors of African American adolescents. Learning Objective 2: To describe the range of messages received by African American adolescents from family members regarding sexual and reproductive health and risk behaviors. Learning Objective 3: To discuss ways in which family influences on sexual and reproductive behaviors can be incorporated into public health interventions.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author on the content I am responsible for because I have conducted sexual and reproductive health research and practice with African American adolescents for nearly 20 years, and have published in this area in several high quality peer-reviewed journals.
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.