Barriers to Prevention: Ethnic and Gender Differences in Latino Adolescent Motivations for Engaging in Risky Behaviors

Abstract

Using a sample from the Longitudinal Study of Adolescent health (Add health), we tested whether psychosocial motivation or health factors were the best predictors of sexual engagement by Latinos. The Latino sample (3,460) included sub samples of Mexican (n = 1587) Chicano (n = 137), Cuban (n = 501), Puerto Rican (n = 586), Central/South American (n = 367) adolescents and individuals self-identified as Hispanic other (n = 282). Our findings showed that most Latino adolescents understood that if they had unprotected sex they were at risk for HIV/AIDS and STI’s. Additionally, as we hypothesized, the motivation items were better predictors of sexual engagement than the health risk items. However, the motivation items were only significant for the females with one exception, the Mexican males. There were other subgroup differences as well. Our findings have important implications for prevention strategies.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the School of Social Work, Rutgers University. The findings and opinions reported here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of any other individuals or organizations.

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Correspondence to Claudia L. Moreno.

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Moreno, C.L., Baer, J.C. Barriers to Prevention: Ethnic and Gender Differences in Latino Adolescent Motivations for Engaging in Risky Behaviors. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 29, 137–149 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-011-0252-y

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Keywords

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hispanics
  • Sexual risk behaviors
  • Prevention
  • STIs