Due to their enhanced risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS, the need to target young African American men and women in college is substantial and there is a significant contribution to be made in designing risk reduction interventions that are specifically targeted to this group. Sixty-one percent of people under 25 diagnosed with HIV/AIDS during 2001-2004 were African American (CDC, 2007). The disproportionate number of cases among this group, combined with the high levels of sexual experimentation and prevalence of STIs among young people, suggests that African American college students are at higher risk and should be a programmatic AND research priority. For many students, the college environment provides a sense of new independence, self-determination, and peer pressure to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Therefore, this study will investigate a culturally grounded, multi-dimensional model of student sexual decision-making and behavior among African American students attending a historically Black institution in North Carolina. This model hypothesizes that sexual decision-making and behavior are shaped by psychosocial factors such as gender role identity, sociosexual orientation, and perceived mate availability. These factors are mediated by perceived vulnerability and social norms, and moderated by varying levels of perceived self- efficacy, spirituality/religiosity, and sensation-seeking. The study uses a three-phase, successive mixed-method approach. The qualitative data obtained from 96 students in Phase I (focus groups) will be used to operationalize the constructs used to inform the quantitative survey (320 students) in Phase II. Phase III (townhalls) is designed to function as an efficient way to disseminate the information to the student body with a goal of building a campuswide prevention initiative. A better understanding of factors associated with African American college students'risky and responsible sexual behavior is needed to help guide the development of strategies and interventions to reduce the rate of HIV infection in this population, and advance the translation of culturally grounded research into effective practice.

Public Health Relevance

The disproportionate number of HIV/AIDS cases among African Americans, combined with the high levels of sexual experimentation and prevalence of STIs among young people, suggests that the sexual milieu of African American college students is an area where more culturally and ecologically appropriate research is necessary. For many students, the college environment provides a sense of new independence and self-determination, plus also peer pressure to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Given the extended latency period for developing observable HIV-related symptoms, it is likely that many adults with AIDS were infected when they were college students (Bazargan, Kelly, Stein, Husaini, &Bazargan, 2000), which is why studying this population is so important. Therefore, this study will investigate a culturally grounded, multi-dimensional model of student sexual decision-making and behavior among African American students attending a historically Black institution in North Carolina. This model hypothesizes that sexual decision-making and behavior are shaped by psychosocial factors such as gender role identity, sociosexual orientation, and perceived mate availability. These factors are mediated by perceived vulnerability and social norms, and moderated by varying levels of perceived self-efficacy, spirituality/religiosity, and sensation-seeking. The study uses a three-phase, successive mixed-method approach. A total of 416 students will be recruited during phases I and II. Phase III (townhalls) is designed to function as an efficient way to disseminate the information to the student body with a goal of building a campus-wide prevention initiative.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Type
Pilot Research Project (SC2)
Project #
5SC2HD068877-03
Application #
8306763
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-MBRS-8 (BH))
Program Officer
Newcomer, Susan
Project Start
2010-09-03
Project End
2014-07-31
Budget Start
2012-08-01
Budget End
2014-07-31
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$136,444
Indirect Cost
$40,444
Name
Winston-Salem State University
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
071579031
City
Winston-Salem
State
NC
Country
United States
Zip Code
27110
Hall, Naomi M; Lee, Anna K; Witherspoon, Daphne D (2014) Factors Influencing Dating Experiences Among African American Emerging Adults. Emerg Adulthood 2:184-194
Hall, Naomi M; Peterson, Jennifer; Johnson, Malynnda (2014) To Test or Not to Test: Barriers and Solutions to Testing African American College Students for HIV at a Historically Black College/University. J Health Dispar Res Pract 7:2