State the application's broad, long-term objectives and specific aims, making reference to the health relatedness ofthe project (i.e., relevance to the mission of the agency). Describe concisely the research design and methods for achieving these goals. Describethe rationale and techniques you will use to pursue these goals.In addition, in two or three sentences, describe in plain, lay language the relevance of this research to public health. If the application is funded, thisdescription, as is, will become public information. Therefore, do not include proprietary/confidential information. DO NOT EXCEED THE SPACEPROVIDED. Latino and African American adolescents remain disproportionately affected by the negative healthconsequences associated with adolescent sexual risk behavior. Despite the fact that sexual risk behavioris a dyadic behavior, almost all of the social-cognitive theories emphasize individual-based variables toexplain behavior. Typically, interviews are conducted with individual adolescents, assessments are madeof their characterizations of relationships, and then these assessments are used to predict the individual'ssexual risk behavior. Little research has studied both members of an adolescent couple or has usedmeasures from each member to predict future sexual activity of that dyad. The overall aim of the presentR01 submission is to identify explanatory models of couple sexual risk behavior among a sample ofunmarried, non co-habiting Latino and African American high school-aged dyads that are romanticallylinked. In addition, the present research also will study the parents of adolescent couples. In doing so, thepresent research will apply theories of cognition, emotion and emotion regulation, and a new theory ofparental monitoring to the study of adolescent sexual risk behavior among couples. The study is focusedon Latino and African American adolescents in grades 11 and 12 and their parents. Adolescents and theirparents will be recruited from public high schools in the Bronx borough of New York, NY, and will beprospectively followed. The research is innovative in several respects. First, it appropriately contextualizesadolescent sexual activity in the broader contexts of adolescent romantic relationships and familydynamics. Second, we will study both members of an adolescent couple and will forecast, prospectively,the sexual behavior of that couple. Most research on adolescent sexual behavior is conducted withindividual adolescents. The study also will apply innovative theoretical models to the study of couple andfamily influences on youth sexual risk behavior. In contrast to previous research, the study acknowledgesthe importance of emotions and emotion regulation as potentially important determinants of adolescentsexual risk taking. The study will test four intriguing models of couple member influence when analyzingthe contribution of characteristics that individual members bring to couple sexual activity, and will examinethe moderating effects of important couple relationship variables. In addition, the research will test a novelthree-process theory of parental monitoring that is grounded in developmental science. The studyrepresents a systematic, theory-based and comprehensive approach to the study of adolescent sexualrisk behavior. By elucidating, in novel ways, the emotional, couple and family contexts within which sexualbehavior occurs, the study will lead to the development of richer, more relevant interventions to preventadolescent sexual risk behavior among African American and Latino youth.

Public Health Relevance

for Affective Influences on Adolescent Sexual Risk Behavior: Couple &Family Contexts African American and Latino youth are disproportionately affected by the negative health consequences associated with adolescent sexual behavior. The present study will conduct innovative research with inner-city African American and Latino high school-aged youth, their parents and their romantic partners to understand how family and couple contexts affect adolescent sexual risk behavior. This knowledge can then be used to inform the design of parent-and school-based interventions to address youth sexual risk behavior.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Community Influences on Health Behavior (CIHB)
Program Officer
Newcomer, Susan
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New York University
Schools of Social Work
New York
United States
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