This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Parenting Processes and Risky Sexual Behaviors in First and Second Generation Hispanic Immigrant Youth




Trejos-Castillo, Elizabeth

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Despite the remarkable increase of Hispanic immigrant families with foreign-born and American-born children, the unique problems and behavioral characteristics of this particular population continue to be overlooked. Even though empirical evidence has identified parenting processes as key predictors of risky sexual behaviors among Hispanic adolescence, only a handful of studies, most of them cross sectional, have examined the etiology of risky sex in Hispanic immigrants; in addition, almost no studies have taken into consideration potential generational differences which may account for observed differences in risky sexual behaviors (Vélez-Pastrana, et al., 2005; Villaruel et al., 2002). The current study aimed to broaden the scarce literature available on the understanding of parenting and risky sexual behaviors among Hispanic immigrant youth, with a particular focus on potential differences or similarities in developmental processes across first and second generation immigrant groups and to more closely examine the potential moderating effects of immigration status or acculturation status on the relationships between the study main constructs. This study used a subsample of Hispanic origin adolescents N = 1,968 from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health); data for this study included Hispanic immigrant adolescents ages 12-16 years old sampled in Wave I (1995) and Wave II (1996). Measures included self-reported data on Time 1 and Time 2 parenting processes (i.e., monitoring, support, and communication), and Time 2 risky sexual behaviors (e.g, condom use, STDs, multiple sexual partners). Demographic variables (e.g., age, sex, family structure, SES) were used as control in a series of hierarchical regressions analyses. Results showed that Time 1 parenting processes and their relationships with Time 2 risky sexual behaviors in Hispanic immigrant youth did not differ by generational status. Parental support emerged as the strongest predictor of T2 risky sexual behaviors. In addition, neither immigration status nor acculturation status showed a significant moderation effect on parenting processes over time (Time 1 to Time 2) or had an independent contribution on risky sexual behaviors.