Abstract: Sexual Risk Among Black South African Youth: The Role of Parenting and Community Factors (Society for Prevention Research 24th Annual Meeting)

112 Sexual Risk Among Black South African Youth: The Role of Parenting and Community Factors

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Marina Room (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Nada M Goodrum, M.A., Doctoral Student, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Lisa P. Armistead, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor & Associate Provost for Graduate Programs, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Introduction: Black South African youth are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic (UNAIDS, 2014), and risky sexual behaviors increase youths’ vulnerability to infection (Shisana et al., 2009). U.S.-based research indicates that positive parenting decreases youth risk, but parenting can be compromised by neighborhood stress (Kotchick, Dorsey, & Heller, 2005). Social support may serve a protective role for parenting in the context of stress (Andresen & Telleen, 1992); however, these processes have not been examined in South Africa. Guided by ecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), this study examined 1) parenting as a mediator in the relation between neighborhood context and youth sexual risk and 2) social support as a direct predictor of parenting and as a moderator in the neighborhood quality-parenting relation.

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.