This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Parents, Peers, and Risky Sexual Behavior in Rural African American Adolescents




Young, Maureen

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


The current study examined the relationships among parenting factors (closeness, communication, support, and monitoring), peer deviance, and adolescent risky sexual behavior in a sample of rural African American youth (N = 689). More specifically, the goal of the current investigation was to discover whether the effects by parenting factors and peer deviance on adolescent risky sexual behavior were unique, additive, or redundant. Analyses were conducted separately by sex; correlations reveled that closeness was negatively associated with risky sexual behavior for female adolescents, while both monitoring and peer deviance were associated with risky sexual activity for both males and females. Regression analyses provided evidence that parenting constructs had no effect on risky sexual behavior. However, peer deviance was a significant predictor and explained approximately 8% of the variance for both male and female participants. Thus, findings indicate that peer deviance, but not parenting factors, was a salient predictor of risky sexual behaviors in this rural African American sample. Due to the high percentage of the sample that reported engaging in risky sexual behaviors, and because of the serious consequences which may result from such activities, it is suggested that further work focus on etiological factors for risky sexual behavior in this extremely understudied population. Such findings may be useful in designing both prevention and intervention efforts aimed at reducing rates of adolescent risky sexual behaviors.