Academic journal article International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Dynamic Relationships between Parental Monitoring, Peer Risk Involvement and Sexual Risk Behavior among Bahamian Mid-Adolescents

Academic journal article International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Dynamic Relationships between Parental Monitoring, Peer Risk Involvement and Sexual Risk Behavior among Bahamian Mid-Adolescents

Article excerpt

Although several prospective studies have examined reciprocal relationships between parental monitoring or knowledge and adolescent problem behavior (especially delinquency), (1-3) they did not account for the interplay between parental and peer influences and adolescent behavior. This study uses longitudinal data from the Bahamas to simultaneously examine prospective reciprocal relationships of parental monitoring and peer risk involvement with adolescent sexual risk behavior, and the longitudinal effects of the initial levels and growth rates of peer risk involvement and parental monitoring on adolescent sexual risk behavior.


The Bahamas, a Caribbean country consisting of approximately 700 islands and cays, has been an independent nation since 1968. African descendants constitute 85% of the country's population; (4-5) the per capita GNP is $16,140, although wealth is highly skewed toward a small population of affluent residents. (6)

The Caribbean has the highest HIV prevalence outside of Sub-Saharan Africa. The first confirmed case of AIDS in the Bahamas was reported in 1985,7 and by the mid-1990s, the country had the second highest annual HIV incidence in the Caribbean--an estimated 4.1% among adults. (6) Although the overall HIV prevalence in the Bahamas has declined since

then, it remains high (2.8% in 2011). In addition, the country's HIV rate of 1.2% among 15-24-yearolds is a matter of concern. (8-9) In the Bahamas, nearly 60% of non-AIDS HIV cases are among individuals aged 15-34 years, who represent fewer than 20% of the population. (6) AIDS was reported as the leading cause of death among Bahamians aged 15-29. (7)

Sexual Risk Behavior Among Middle Adolescents

During middle adolescence (ages 14-16), youth undergo substantial physical maturation, but cognitive development, experience and decision-making capability may lag. (10) Adolescents may be especially vulnerable to engaging in sexual risk behaviors, such as unprotected sexual intercourse and having multiple partners, (11) which can result in adverse health outcomes, including unintended pregnancy and HIV or other STIs. (12) UNAIDS estimates that nearly half of the world's HIV infections have occurred among young people aged 15-24. (13)

Studies on risk behaviors among Caribbean youth have demonstrated that the proportions of young people having sex at an early age, having multiple sexual partners and using condoms inconsistently have increased over time. (14,15) According to a comprehensive health survey conducted by the World Health Organization among 16,000 youth aged 10-18 in nine Caribbean nations, more than 50% of sexually active males and 25% of sexually active females reported having had their first sexual experience by age 10, and only 53% of males and females had used a condom at last sex. (16) A survey among Jamaican 15-19-year-olds found that 54% of males and 32% of females had had sexual intercourse in the past year; (15) of those, 52% of males and 12% of females had had more than one sexual partner during that period.

Family and Peer Influence

Adolescent behavior is shaped by a range of nested contextual systems. (17) Parents and peers--two major potential influences on risky and protective behaviors--have received considerable attention in the literature. Parents and peers create a social context for behavioral development, act as role models, and provide opportunity and reinforcement for risk and protective behaviors. (18)

Several longitudinal studies have used the reciprocal effects model to examine dynamic relationships between parenting and adolescent problem behavior. (19) One prospective study of middle adolescents found a reciprocal relationship between parental monitoring and adolescent delinquency: Low levels of monitoring predicted increases in delinquent behavior, and high levels of delinquency predicted decreases in parental monitoring. …

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