Sexual risk-taking behaviors among older adults: Does higher social capital increase the likelihood of safer sex?
BACKGROUND: HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise in older adults. Studies on older adults' sexual behavior and STD and HIV risk factors are severely lacking. Prior research show that older adults may not have many avenues for seeking information related to sexual health, and there is a lack of social awareness of their sexuality. We hypothesize that social capital might play a greater role at this stage of life. Elders, who have greater access to social capital, might have greater access to safer sex information and option. METHODS: Data for this study are from the General Social Survey (GSS) 2010. We analyzed STD or HIV risk behavior with three multivariate ordinary least squares regression models. Social capital was measured with neighborhood trust, perceived helpfulness, and membership in voluntary associations. Sex behavior was assessed separately by relationship to last sexual partner. RESULTS: In our study, 74% of the older adults over age 55 reported at least one sexual risk-taking behavior (N=739). Social capital played significant role on likelihood of STD or HIV risk-taking behaviors within the ongoing relationships. Perceived helpfulness was not associated with any of the sexual risk-taking behaviors. However, membership in voluntary associations significantly increases the likelihood of safer sex in both types of relationships (p <0.01). CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the need for developing sex education programs for older adults. Additionally, it suggests the importance of focusing on social capital generation as a component of effective health promotion strategies for older adults.
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences
Identify factors associated with sexual risk-behaviors among older adults.
Discuss how social capital could be an important component in health promotion programs for older adults
Keyword(s): Sexual Risk Behavior
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D. and MPH. I have been Co-PI and Evaluator in many federally funded projects. I have published several papers on aging and health issue. I have contributed to the data analysis and discussion of findings in this paper.
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.