Youth Assets and Sexual Activity: Differences Based on Race/Ethnicity

Tolma, Eleni L.; Vesely, Sara K.; Oman, Roy F.; Aspy, Cheryl B.; Beebe, Laura; Rodine, Sharon; Marshall, LaDonna; Fluhr, Janene
November 2008
Health Educator;Fall2008, Vol. 40 Issue 2, p59
Academic Journal
Race/ethnicity has been associated with the prevalence of sexual activity among youth as well as with youth assets. Research has also shown that youth assets are associated with youth abstinence. However, very few studies have examined whether the relationship between youth assets and sexual activity might differ based on race/ethnicity. The study sample consisted of youth (Mean age=14.9±1.8 years; 52% Female; 49% White; 25% Hispanic; 26% Black) and their parents (N=2090 youth/parent pairs) living in two Midwest cities. Thirty-seven percent of Black youth, 29% of White youth and 27% of Hispanic youth have reported being sexually active. Within the White subgroup only four assets (Family Communication, Use of time [Religion], Community Involvement and Peer Role Models) were significantly associated with never having had sexual intercourse. Within the Black subgroup only one asset (Non-Parental Adult Role Models) was associated with never having had sexual intercourse. Finally, within the Hispanic subgroup only two assets (Peer-Role Models and Use of Time [Religion]) were associated with never having had sexual intercourse. The results indicate that the asset/sexual relationship may vary by race/ethnicity. Thus, culturally relevant interventions with a focus on increasing specific youth assets may hold potential for reducing teen sexual behavior.


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