Influence of sexual partner type on condom-use decision making by Black adolescent mothers
Rates of human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted infections continue to increase among Black adolescent girls. Condom use among adolescent girls occurs more often with “casual” than with “main” sexual partners, yet little is known about condom use decisions with sex partners who are also the fathers of their children.
The purposes of this study were to describe the reasons given by Black adolescent mothers for condom use decisions with their various sexual partners, and any substantive differences in reasons given for condom use between those partners who are, and are not, the fathers of their children. This study used a qualitative descriptive design with data generated through focus groups and individual interviews.
Participants were recruited from community and clinical sites using peer driven recruitment (n=31). The mean age was 17.5 years (SD 1.4). All of the girls in the study were Black (10% Hispanic; 90% non-Hispanic). Four themes were identified. First, “a taxonomy is used to organize descriptions of sexual partners.” The second was that “condom use decisions are made conditionally based on a combination of emotional and relationship factors and some are also made categorically based on partner-type”. The third was that “love, trust, and perceived seriousness of the relationship promote forgoing condom use.” The last theme identified was that “there is an enduring connection with the ‘baby daddy,’ bonded by his paternal link to the child and the mother's dream of having a family.”
These findings show that the father of the baby was the only sexual partner with whom a decision was made to forgo condom use based solely on his membership in the “baby daddy” category. Relationships between the adolescent mothers and their “baby daddy” sex partners were grounded in their joint connections to their shared children. Many participants maintained ongoing sexual relationships with the fathers of their children.
Research is needed to better understand predictors of condom use among adolescent mothers, including those that may involve the interests of their children and the fathers of their children. Existing interventions that target adolescent mothers should be adapted and tailored to involve their children's fathers.
Decision making models;
0573: Public health