Demographic differences in safe sex intentions among adolescents in south Florida adolescents
Background: Studies find that positive behavioral intentions for safe sex precede safe sex behavior. Patterns of sexual activity vary based on demographic factors including gender, age, family structure, and race/ethnicity. The current study examined the degree to which intentions for safe sex varied among demographic groups. Methods: The study sample included 196 adolescents, ages 13-18, in south Florida. Intentions for safe sex behavior was a composite score comprised of 15 questions about condom use, sexual communication, and sex after using alcohol and drugs (α = .87). T-tests and ANOVAs were conducted to compare groups, including: male to female adolescents; ages 13-16 to ages 17-18; African-American participants to non-African American participants; and participants living with both natural parents, mother only, and other living situations. Results: Male adolescents (M = 73.32, SD = 12.06) reported less favorable intentions for having safe sex than females (M = 79.93, SD = 13.24, t(186) = -3.56, p < .001). Adolescents ages 17-18 (M = 73.47, SD = 14.80) reported less favorable intentions than adolescents ages 13-16 (M = 78.47, SD = 10.99, t(173) = 2.56, p = .01). No statistically significant differences were found by race/ethnicity or family structure. Discussion: Because males and older adolescents may have a different profile of risk than females and younger adolescents, it may be more effective to tailor sexual health education and interventions to the specific characteristics of gender and age groups. More research on emerging adults as a distinct group will help clarify the needs of this population.
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Define behavioral intentions for having safe sex
Demonstrate the differences in safe sex intentions between demographic groups
Keyword(s): Adolescents, Sexual Risk Behavior
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I recently completed my PhD in Public Health with a focus in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. My dissertation research was on adolescent health, with a focus on sexual behavior predictors, namely attitudes, parenting, and neighborhood stress.
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.