American Indian (AI) adolescent females have higher rates of sexual activity, births and STIs compared to the national average. However, there is little information available regarding pregnancy rates and STI rates among urban based AI adolescents. The purpose of this grounded theory study is to examine how various factors and processes influence urban adolescent AI females to engage in sexual risk behavior as a basis for developing a conceptualization/theory. We will recruit 20-30 American Indian adolescent females from the American Indian Health and Family Service center in Detroit, Michigan and surrounding organizations catering to the AI population. Symbolic Interactionism (SI) and Bronfenbrenner's (1977) ecological model will be utilized to guide the research questions. Use of the SI concurrently with Bronefenbrenner's ecological model will allow an in depth look at the factors affecting the adolescent as well as the meanings acquired from interactions with others. The two frameworks guide the initial stages of the research which include the interviews and talking circles. We will address four specific aims: 1) Identify Individual (microsystem) psychosocial processes that influence AI adolescent females'sexual behavior. 2. Identify family (mesosystem) context that influence AI adolescent female sexual risk behavior. 3) Identify Tribal, Cultural, and Historical (macrosystem 1) context that influence AI adolescent females'sexual risk behavior. 4) Identify national policy (macrosystem 2) context that influence AI adolescent females'sexual risk behavior. Data collected will be from talking circles and individual interviews. Talking circles are a traditional method of group communication in AI society. They are familiar to AIs as they historically rely on oral traditions to relay experiences. Data collected will be analyzed via constant comparative analysis. Using constant comparative analysis, the researcher will use three levels of increasingly theoretical coding. The results of this grounded theory study will improve understanding of the psychosocial processes and contextual factors that influence urban AI female sexual risk behavior, and ultimately may result in the development of culturally appropriate, adolescent-centered sexual risk reduction interventions.
This grounded theory research project aims to develop a better understanding of the various psychosocial processes and contextual factors unique to the urban American Indian adolescent female population. These processes and factors will be examined with regards to sexual risk behavior and the unique culture that urban American Indians live within.
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