An exploration of factors that influence sexual decision making among young black women
Tucker-Brown, Aisha Kamil
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Sexual decision making among young African American women is complex. This study explored the factors that influence the decision making of 25 African American women between the ages of 18 and 25. They were purposefully selected and interviewed. Ten were interviewed individually, ten were participants in one of three focus groups, and five participated in both individual and focus group interviews. Interviews and focus groups served as the sole source of data for this study. This was a basic interpretive study and a qualitative research design was used to explore the factors that influence sexual decision making among these participants. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. An analysis of the data revealed categories and properties related to participants’ understanding of HIV, their perception of risk, and the major influences on their decisions regarding sex. The intersection of race, class, and gender also became apparent when looking at it in the context of power as well as sexual risk. Three general conclusions were drawn from the findings: (1) Despite their knowledge of HIV/AIDS, and both familial and religious influences, young Black women still make sexual decisions that put them at risk for contracting HIV; (2) Young Black women recognize that they are at great collective risk for contracting HIV, yet fail to acknowledge individual risk; and (3) Issues of power and some popular media significantly influence the sexual decisions of young Black women. Implications for practice and theory in the field of social work, study limitations, and recommendations for future research are provided.