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Dimensions of Acculturation and Sexual Health among U.S. Hispanic Youth

Description: Hispanic youth living in the U.S. share a disproportionate burden of risk for HIV, other STIs, and teen pregnancies. They also tend to report lower rates of condom use and higher rates of inconsistent condom use than other racial/ethnic groups. Furthermore, immigrant Hispanic adolescents experience a unique burden of sexual risk compared to their non-immigrant counterparts. These negative sexual health outcomes can severely derail the overall health, social mobility, and life opportunities of these adolescents. Social researchers have tried to explain these sexual risk disparities using the concept of immigrant acculturation, which is broadly defined as the process of adopting the cultural values and beliefs of a host society. Immigrant acculturation has been shown to play a key role in shaping youth attitudes and behaviors, including sexual risk behaviors (see Lee & Hahm, 2010). Yet, studies have largely overlooked the contextual components of acculturation that have been proposed in theoretical literature, specifically characteristics of the immigrant's receiving community. Furthermore, studies have not adequately explored the influence of acculturation on two crucial measures of sexual risk: teen pregnancy norms and condom use. Therefore, the current dissertation consists of two unique studies that examine the influence of acculturation, at both the individual and neighborhood level, on Hispanic adolescent teen pregnancy norms and condom use over time. The aim is to fill these important gaps in the literature and expand on earlier explanations of the relationship between cultural, place, and long-term sexual health. Both studies use nationally-representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Overall, findings suggest an immigrant advantage for both teen pregnancy norms and condom use, although this advantage functions differently for males and females. Furthermore, the studies demonstrate the importance of including contextual measures of acculturation into studies related to Hispanic adolescent sexual health.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Driver, Nichola D

Using Topic Models to Study Journalist-Audience Convergence and Divergence: The Case of Human Trafficking Coverage on British Online Newspapers

Description: Despite the accessibility of online news and availability of sophisticated methods for analyzing news content, no previous study has focused on the simultaneous examination of news coverage on human trafficking and audiences' interpretations of this coverage. In my research, I have examined both journalists' and commenters' topic choices in coverage and discussion of human trafficking from the online platforms of three British newspapers covering the period 2009–2015. I used latent semantic analysis (LSA) to identify emergent topics in my corpus of newspaper articles and readers' comments, and I then quantitatively investigated topic preferences to identify convergence and divergence on the topics discussed by journalists and their readers. I addressed my research questions in two distinctive studies. The first case study implemented topic modelling techniques and further quantitative analyses on article and comment paragraphs from The Guardian. The second extensive study included article and comment paragraphs from the online platforms of three British newspapers: The Guardian, The Times and the Daily Mail. The findings indicate that the theories of "agenda setting" and of "active audience" are not mutually exclusive, and the scope of explanation of each depends partly on the specific topic or subtopic that is analyzed. Taking into account further theoretical concepts related to agenda setting, four more additional research questions were addressed. Topic convergence and divergence was further identified when taking into account the newspapers' political orientation and the articles' and comments' year of publication.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Papadouka, Maria Eirini