Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 43, Issue 9, pp 1513–1526

Testing Pathways Linking Exposure to Community Violence and Sexual Behaviors Among African American Youth

  • Dexter R. Voisin
  • Anna L. Hotton
  • Torsten B. Neilands
Empirical Research

DOI: 10.1007/s10964-013-0068-5

Cite this article as:
Voisin, D.R., Hotton, A.L. & Neilands, T.B. J Youth Adolescence (2014) 43: 1513. doi:10.1007/s10964-013-0068-5

Abstract

Exposure to community violence and HIV sexual risks are two major public health concerns among youth. This study tests various pathways linking exposure to community violence and sexual behaviors among African American adolescents. Using a sample of 563 (61 % females) African American youth attending high school we examined whether problematic psychological symptoms, low school engagement, and/or negative perceptions of peer norms about safer sex functioned as pathways linking exposure to community violence and sexual behaviors. Major findings indicated that, for boys, the relationship between exposure to community violence and sexual début and sexual risk behaviors were linked by aggression. In addition, the relationship between exposure to community violence and sexual risk behaviors were linked by negative perceptions of peer attitudes about safer sex. For girls, the relationship between exposure to community violence and sexual début was linked by aggression and negative perceptions of peer attitudes about safer sex. These findings provide support for pathways linking exposure to community violence to sexual behaviors.

Keywords

YouthExposure to community violenceSexual behaviorsHIV riskPathways

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dexter R. Voisin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anna L. Hotton
    • 3
  • Torsten B. Neilands
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Social Service AdministrationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.STI/HIV Intervention NetworkChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Division of Infectious DiseasesJohn H. Stroger HospitalChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Center for AIDS Prevention StudiesSan FranciscoUSA