AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1570–1583 | Cite as

Early Adolescent Romantic Relationships and Maternal Approval among Inner City Latino Families

  • Alida Bouris
  • Vincent Guilamo-Ramos
  • James Jaccard
  • Michelle Ballan
  • Catherine A. Lesesne
  • Bernardo Gonzalez
Original Paper


Latino youth are at high risk for acquiring HIV during adolescence. The present study documented the nature of adolescent romantic relationships among 702 Latino eighth grade students and their mothers in the Bronx, NY. The study examined adolescent romantic relationships, the association between participation in such relationships and intentions to engage in sexual risk behavior, and maternal influences on adolescent’s involvement in intimate behaviors in romantic relationships. Almost 50% of youth had been in a romantic relationship, which typically lasted 3–3.5 months. Mothers tended to approve of intimate behaviors and sexual activity in romantic relationships more so for males than females. Latino youth tended to underestimate maternal disapproval of a range of intimate behaviors, and the correlations between perceived and actual maternal approval were generally low in magnitude. Finally, maternal orientations towards their adolescent engaging in romantic relationships were associated with their child’s intentions to have sexual intercourse in the future.


Romantic relationships Early adolescence Latinos Maternal approval 


Los jóvenes latinos están en alto riesgo de contraer el VIH durante la adolescencia. El presente estudio ha documentado la naturaleza de las relaciones románticas entre 702 adolescentes latinos del octavo grado y sus madres en el Bronx, NY. El estudio examinó las relaciones románticas entre adolescentes, la asociación entre la participación en estos tipos de relaciones e intenciones de participar en el comportamiento de riesgo sexual, y las influencias de los madres en la participación de los adolescentes en los comportamientos íntimos de las relaciones románticas. Casi 50% de los jóvenes habían estado en una relación romántica, que normalmente duró de 3 a 3.5 meses. Las madres tendían a aprobar los comportamientos íntimos y la actividad sexual en las relaciones románticas más para los jóvenes masculinos que para las femeninas. Los jóvenes latinos tendían a subestimar la desaprobación materna de una serie de comportamientos íntimos, y las correlaciones entre la aprobación materna percibida y la real eran generalmente de baja magnitud. Por último, las orientaciones de los madres hacia la participación de las relaciones románticas entre los adolescentes se asociaron con las intenciones de sus hijos tener penetración sexual en el futuro.



This research was conducted as part of the Entre Familias Study and was supported by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cooperative Agreement #1 U01 DP000175. The findings and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alida Bouris
    • 1
  • Vincent Guilamo-Ramos
    • 2
    • 3
  • James Jaccard
    • 2
    • 3
  • Michelle Ballan
    • 4
  • Catherine A. Lesesne
    • 5
  • Bernardo Gonzalez
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social Service AdministrationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH)New York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Silver School of Social WorkNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.School of Social WorkColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

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