Method: Participants were recruited from the Langa Township near Cape Town. Ninety-nine caregivers (M age = 42.6, SD = 11.4) and their 10-to-14-year-old children (M age = 11.7, SD= 1.4; 53% female) completed self-report questionnaires using Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview software. A latent variable of youth sexual risk was comprised of youth-reported pre-coital behaviors and sexual intentions. Intentions and pre-coital behaviors were chosen as risk indicators due to the low base rates of intercourse among 10-14 year olds. Youth also reported the quality of their neighborhoods (i.e., safety and cohesion). A latent variable of parenting included parent and youth report of parental monitoring/involvement and parent-youth relationship quality. Parents reported their perceived social support. Youth age and gender were covaried in all analyses.
Results: Structural equation modeling with MLR estimation was utilized to test the hypothesized models. In Aim 1, consistent with hypotheses, neighborhood quality was positively related to parenting, β = .35, p < .01, and parenting was negatively related to youth sexual risk, β = -.58, p < .001. The indirect effect of neighborhood quality on youth sexual risk via parenting was significant, β = -.201, p < .05. In Aim 2, social support was positively related to parenting quality, β = .29, p < .05, but did not interact with neighborhood quality to impact parenting, β = -.009, n.s.
Conclusions: Among this understudied sample of primarily Xhosa-speaking South African families, safe and cohesive neighborhoods indirectly predicted less sexual risk via more positive parenting, and social support predicted better parenting quality. Family-based HIV prevention interventions should consider these contextual factors when targeting parenting practices.