The influence of perceived racial discrimination on the risky sexual behaviors of rural African American adolescent men
Pocock, Alexandra Marie
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African American youth, males in particular, report disproportionate rates of risky sexual behavior, which increases their vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. This prospective study tested predictions regarding the association of perceived racial discrimination with adolescent sexual risk behavior (multiple partners, unprotected intercourse, and substance use prior to sex). I also hypothesized that attitudes toward antisocial behavior would mediate the associations between discrimination and sexual risk behaviors and that racial socialization and involved-vigilant parenting would moderate the link between discrimination and attitudes toward antisocial behavior. Hypotheses were tested using linear and logistic regressions with data from 202 rural African American males. Results indicated discrimination at age 16 predicted multiple partners at age 18, and was mediated by attitudes toward antisocial behavior. Neither racial socialization nor involved-vigilant parenting interacted with discrimination to attenuate its effect on attitudes toward antisocial behavior. Theoretical and policy implications of the findings are discussed.