Long-Term Influence of Sexual Norms and Attitudes on Timing of Sexual Initiation among Urban Minority Youth. (Research Papers)

By O'Donnell, Lydia; Myint-U, Athi et al. | Journal of School Health, February 2003 | Go to article overview

Long-Term Influence of Sexual Norms and Attitudes on Timing of Sexual Initiation among Urban Minority Youth. (Research Papers)


O'Donnell, Lydia, Myint-U, Athi, O'Donnell, Carl R., Stueve, Ann, Journal of School Health


Early initiation of sexual activity has been linked with increased risk for negative health outcomes including HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy. (1-4) This link may exist because adolescents who have sex at a young age are prone to have unprotected sex, more frequent sexual encounters, and sex with multiple partners. They also are more likely than their peers to have initiated other risk behaviors including alcohol, drug, and tobacco use. (1,5)

While the proportion of adolescents reporting sexual intercourse held steady in recent years, rates of early sexual initiation among African American and Latino youth remain high. According to the 2001 Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25.7% of African American and 11.4% of Latino male high school students had sexual intercourse before age 13 compared to 6.2% of their White counterparts. (6) Differences are similar among female students, with 7.6% of African American and 4.1% of Latina respondents reporting having engaged in sexual intercourse before 13, compared to 3.3% of White females.

Ethnic and racial disparities in the timing of sexual initiation are disturbing given that minority youth and young adults are disproportionately at risk for negative health outcomes associated with early and unprotected sex. According to CDC, African Americans and Hispanics were significantly over-represented in the number of new AIDS cases reported in 1999, accounting for 47% and 19% of these cases, respectively. (7,8) African American youth of both genders account for 56% of HIV cases reported in the 13 to 24 age group. (9) In New York City, where this study was conducted, almost 90% of new cases of HIV infection, and 70% of newly diagnosed AIDS cases, occur among African American and Latino communities. (10) Reported rates of STDs, including gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia, as well as unintended pregnancies, also are higher when compared to Whites. (4,11)

Despite health risks associated with early sexual initiation, little empirical evidence exists on factors that influence sexual behavior among minority youth. Even less is known about a particularly vulnerable group--those who reside in economically disadvantaged urban settings. Data are especially scarce on adolescents who have not reached their teen years, despite the fact that a substantial proportion of minority boys and a smaller number of girls report sexual intercourse before age 15. (5,12) This lack is due in part to difficulties of conducting research on sexuality with younger adolescents. (13) The CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the National Survey of Adolescent Males, and the National Survey of Family Growth focused on youth aged 15 or older. These studies relied on retrospective accounts of sexual activity. The National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health includes younger participants and over-samples minorities, yet given its broad scope, the numbers of African American and Latino youth from urban environments--where early initiation and the consequences of risky sex are so high--are still relatively small.

The need for additional data on younger adolescents is bolstered by several studies that suggest many of the factors that affect sexual behavior, particularly sexual norms and attitudes about sex, may be shaped before youth reach their teen years. (14-17) However, because most of these studies were cross-sectional or had brief longitudinal follow up (over the school year), they provide limited information on causal effects, including whether attitudes and expectations held in early adolescence influence behaviors over the longer-term, into and during the high school years.

Evidence of whether sexual norms and attitudes influence patterns of future sexual behavior can inform prevention programs in several ways. First, it can identify developmental stages when interventions are needed for different populations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Long-Term Influence of Sexual Norms and Attitudes on Timing of Sexual Initiation among Urban Minority Youth. (Research Papers)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.