tate the application's broad, long-term objectives and specific aims, making reference to the health relatedness of the project (i.e., relevance to the mission of the agency). Describe concisely the research design and methods for achieving these goals. Describe the 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, this description, as is, will become public information. Therefore, do not include proprietary/confidential information. DO NOT EXCEED THE SPACE PROVIDED. Latino and African American adolescents remain disproportionately affected by the negative health consequences associated with adolescent sexual risk behavior. Despite the fact that sexual risk behavior is a dyadic behavior, almost all of the social-cognitive theories emphasize individual-based variables to explain behavior. Typically, interviews are conducted with individual adolescents, assessments are made of their characterizations of relationships, and then these assessments are used to predict the individual's sexual risk behavior. Little research has studied both members of an adolescent couple or has used measures from each member to predict future sexual activity of that dyad. The overall aim of the present R01 submission is to identify explanatory models of couple sexual risk behavior among a sample of unmarried, non co-habiting Latino and African American high school-aged dyads that are romantically linked. In addition, the present research also will study the parents of adolescent couples. In doing so, the present research will apply theories of cognition, emotion and emotion regulation, and a new theory of parental monitoring to the study of adolescent sexual risk behavior among couples. The study is focused on Latino and African American adolescents in grades 11 and 12 and their parents. Adolescents and their parents will be recruited from public high schools in the Bronx borough of New York, NY, and will be prospectively followed. The research is innovative in several respects. First, it appropriately contextualizes adolescent sexual activity in the broader contexts of adolescent romantic relationships and family dynamics. 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 with individual adolescents. The study also will apply innovative theoretical models to the study of couple and family influences on youth sexual risk behavior. In contrast to previous research, the study acknowledges the importance of emotions and emotion regulation as potentially important determinants of adolescent sexual risk taking. The study will test four intriguing models of couple member influence when analyzing the contribution of characteristics that individual members bring to couple sexual activity, and will examine the moderating effects of important couple relationship variables. In addition, the research will test a novel three-process theory of parental monitoring that is grounded in developmental science. The study represents a systematic, theory-based and comprehensive approach to the study of adolescent sexual risk behavior. By elucidating, in novel ways, the emotional, couple and family contexts within which sexual behavior occurs, the study will lead to the development of richer, more relevant interventions to prevent adolescent 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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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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