Socialization Influences on Sexual Health Behaviors Among African American Men: Utilizing an Inter-group and Intra-group Approach to Health Disparities Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Matthews, Derrick Deshun
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior
  • The large and persistent racial disparity in HIV and STD infection among men has prompted researchers to identify determinants driving differences in sexual health behaviors. However, the process which men develop sexual health behavior early in life remains an understudied factor in the production of sexual health disparities. Additionally, the study of African American men's health behaviors is frequently limited by only comparing their experiences to men of other racial groups. This dissertation explores sources of variation in the relationship between health socialization and sexual health behaviors both across and within race. Manuscript 1 examined racial differences in the effects that peers and fathers have on the age of first sex and condom use during adolescence and young adulthood. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, analyses revealed that peers and fathers influenced the age of first sex. These effects did not differ by race, though African American men became sexually active more quickly than White men. There was no racial difference in rates of condom use, nor did any socialization effects from adolescence carry over to young adulthood. Manuscript 2 explored variability in condom use among African American men using data from the African American Men's Health and Social Life Study. A latent class approach was employed to explore the joint effects of racial and masculine identity on condom use. Analysis yielded four distinct classes of racial and masculine identity, though these profiles did not explain variability in condom use. However, early life paternal sexual health socialization was positively associated with condom behavior. These findings suggest that those agents who shape the development of sexual health behavior, particularly fathers, play an important role in delaying sexual initiation and possibly condom use. Based on results, interventions should work with fathers to leverage their existing influence, and foster additional opportunities for father-son communication about sexual health. The large racial difference in the timing of sexual initiation, coupled with the lack of racial difference in condom use, suggests that additional research is needed into structural factors driving the racial disparity in HIV and STD infection among men.
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  • In Copyright
  • Powell Hammond, Wizdom
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2013

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