Sexual risk -taking beliefs and behaviors among Black college -aged women
Black women represented over 62% of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases reported among women in the United States in 2000 (CDC, 2003). Women are more likely than men to acquire the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, through heterosexual contact (CDC, 2004). This study investigated psychological, intrapersonal, and interpersonal factors that could increase Black college-aged women's risk for heterosexually transmitted HIV infection.
One hundred Black college-aged women between the ages of 17 and 22 participated in the study. They completed the following self-report measures: a demographic form; a dating relationship background questionnaire, the Relationship Assessment Scale (RAS); the Center for Epidemiological Studies - Depression Scale (CES-D); the Silencing the Self Scale (SSS); the Sexual Relationship Power Scale (SRPS); the Multi-group Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM); the Condom Use Self-Efficacy Scale (CUSES); the Risky Sex Scale (RSS); an AIDS knowledge scale (AKS); and the Scale of Sexual Risk Taking (SSRT).
Pearson correlations, univariate analyses of variance, and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to explore the relationships among the following variables: depression, racial identity, gender role constructs, dating relationship characteristics, condom use self-efficacy (CUSE) and reported sexual risk-taking (SRT). AIDS knowledge and socio-economic status (SES) were covariates in the analyses. Lower racial identity, lower sexual relationship power, and lower dating relationship satisfaction significantly predicted lower CUSE, as did higher levels of depression and self-silencing. Participants' age and level of relationship satisfaction predicted scores on the SSRT. Older participants and those with higher dating relationship satisfaction had higher levels of reported SRT than other participants.
Self-silencing and sexual relationship power significantly moderated the relationship between depression and CUSE. Only at lower levels of self-silencing or at higher levels of sexual relationship power was this relationship significant. In addition, only at lower levels of racial identity was there a significant relationship between dating relationship satisfaction and CUSE. The strongest predictors of CUSE were self-silencing and dating relationship satisfaction. This study highlights the importance of multiple interacting psychological and interpersonal variables on Black college-aged women's SRT beliefs and behaviors, especially the critical role of assertiveness and self-care in heterosexual dating relationships.
0325: African Americans
0453: Womens studies