Sociocultural HIV risk knowledge and behavior among female African-American adolescents and emerging adults in the southeast

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University of Alabama Libraries

The aim of this study is to determine sociocultural influences of HIV risk knowledge and behavior among African-American adolescent and emerging adult women in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Bridging multiple worlds, cultural consensus, and cultural consonance theories were combined to discover sociocultural influences of HIV risk. Sociocultural descriptions of HIV risk converge and diverge with the public health model of HIV prevention. This following was hypothesized: (1) girls aged 14-18 will share a cultural model of HIV risk; (2) greater social integration and support will correlate with lower retrospective culturally-defined HIV risk scores among women age 18-24; (3) greater social support and lower culturally-defined HIV risk scores will be mediated by greater number of important individuals and social worlds, and will be moderated by (a) location and (b) SES; (4) location will reveal variance in culturally-defined HIV risk scores among participants 18-24 based on location; and (5) lower culturally-defined HIV risk scores in high school will be correlated with current decreased perceived stress, with this relationship being mediated by (a) greater worlds, (b) greater number of important people, (c) greater past social support, and (d) greater present social support. In-depth interviews, focus groups, participant observation, and informal discussions ethnographically describe African-American adolescent life in Alabama. Cultural consensus analysis is used to determine if the cultural model is shared, while techniques informed by cultural consonance analysis determined how individuals enact the model. Statistical testing include correlation, ANOVA, mediation, and moderation analysis. Results show a shared cultural model of HIV risk consisting of characteristics, behaviors, iii social worlds, and important people describing low and high risk. Relationships between social support and culturally-defined HIV risk scores are moderated by SES. In addition, location of recruitment and interview showed differing mean culturally-defined HIV risk scores, with highest mean scores found in lowest and highest SES settings, and lowest mean scores in the middle SES setting. Lastly, risk scores mediated the relationship between total past social support and current perceived social stress, and total important people in high school and current perceived stress.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Cultural anthropology, Public health, African American studies