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