Examining the relationships among sexual risk behaviors, spirituality, and psychological well-being in African American adolescents
Gantt, Lakeisha Shonta
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African American adolescents are engaging in sexual risk behaviors at an alarming rate. This study sought to explore the relationships among sexual risk behaviors, spirituality, and psychological well-being. A battery of instruments was administered, including a Demographic Form, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System 2009-Modified, the Spirituality Scale, the Intrinsic/Extrinsic Religiosity Scale, and the Happiness Measures (termed the Emotions Questionnaire for this study). Sexual risk behaviors was operationally defined by whether an adolescent had engaged in sexual intercourse. Spirituality was operationally defined by scores on the Spirituality Scale. Psychological well-being was operationally defined by scores on the Happiness Measures. The sample consisted of 87 adolescents who self-identified as African American between the ages of 10 and 18. Research questions guiding the study were: Is there a relationship among sexual risk behaviors, spirituality, and psychological well-being; and is spirituality a predictor of sexual risk behaviors? T-tests, Pearson Product-Moment Correlations, and binary logistic regressions were used to analyze the data. Results indicated that there is a significant relationship between sexual risk behaviors and spirituality. There was a statistically significant difference in the mean spirituality scores of participants who had engaged in sexual intercourse (M = 73.13) and those who had not (M = 81.46). Binary logistic regressions for the Spirituality Scale (R2 = 46.1) and the Intrinsic/Extrinsic Religiosity Scale (R2 = 36.7) indicated that spirituality accounted for the variability observed in the dependent variable. Significant relationships were not found between sexual risk behaviors and psychological well-being or psychological well-being and happiness. Directions for future research, limitations, and implications for practice are discussed.