Date

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counseling Psychology

First Adviser

Spokane, Arnold

Other advisers/committee members

Weiskotten, David; Beachum, Floyd; Cole, Christine; Spokane, Arnold

Abstract

The present study examined specific factors associated with Black high school students’ HIV-related risk behaviors. Two-thousand eight hundred and thirty two self-report questionnaire responses were selected from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey outcomes to test the following research questions: RQ1. Do grade status differences exist in self-reported HIV-related risk behaviors in Black high school students, and are these differences moderated by gender; RQ2. Do significant linear relationships exist between HIV-related education and self-reported HIV-related risk behaviors in Black high school students, and, if so, are these relationships moderated by gender and/or age; and, RQ3. Are self-rated HIV-related risk behaviors significantly correlated with other specific self-rated risk-taking behaviors including unintentional injury behaviors and alcohol and/or other drugs behaviors in Black high school students. Results of these investigations suggested mixed findings. Regarding the first research question, MANOVA indicated clear differences were found. Specifically, significant grade status differences do exist in self-reported HIV-related risk behaviors, including the age at which participants first had sex, number of lifetime sexual partners and whether or not participants or their partner used a condom at last sex. However, no significant grade status differences were found in self-reported HIV-related risk behaviors pertinent to a participant ever having sex, endorsement of number of sexual partners in past 3 months, or participant acknowledgement of alcohol or drug use prior to last sexual intercourse. Further, outcomes of an additional MANOVA, examining gender as a moderator of significant grade status differences, indicated that the effects of grade status differences on endorsement of HIV-related risk behaviors were still significant even after controlling for the effects of gender.Several linear regression analyses were then used to examine the second research question. These analyses revealed mixed results, with only two of six HIV-related risk behavior questions showing evidence of significant outcomes. Specifically, significant linear relationships were seen between participant affirmation of previous HIV-related education and self-reported number of lifetime sexual partners and between participant assertion of HIV-related education and self-reported number of sexual partners in the past three months. Follow-up moderation outcomes of further regression analyses revealed that the interaction between HIV-related education and gender accounted for significantly more variance than HIV-education alone on number of sexual partners in the past three months. No other significant findings for gender or age as potentially moderating variables were discovered. Finally, three Pearson Correlational Matrices were used to examine the third research question. Outcomes of the analyses demonstrated numerous significant correlations between self-rated HIV-related risk behaviors and other specific self-rated risk-taking behaviors, including unintentional injury behaviors and alcohol and/or other drugs behaviors. However, many of the significant outcomes demonstrated weak and very weak correlations as well as no correlations. Only a couple of HIV-related risk behaviors showed moderate correlations with other risk taking behaviors, and these correlations were always relevant to marijuana use. Taken together, the evidence yields mixed, but important results for all three of our research questions. This study and others examining variables relevant to a minority group have benevolent intentions. At times, unfavorable outcomes can indirectly and unintentionally play a role in the further stigmatization of minority group(s) in study. Therefore, caution should be used in interpreting and relaying the outcomes of mixed or unexpected findings in our study.

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