Perceived Discrimination, Peer Influence and Sexual Behaviors in Mexican American Preadolescents
- 427 Downloads
Both discrimination and sexual health disparities have significant negative health implications for Latina/o preadolescent youth, including negative mental health outcomes, STIs/HIV, unintended pregnancy, and ongoing poverty. Studying these links within this population, therefore, has significant public health relevance, both in terms of promoting sexual health in general as well as serving the specific needs of Latina/o youth. This study explored the relationship between perceived discrimination, peer influence and sexual behaviors among 438 Mexican American preadolescents in the Southwest United States (55.3 % male). Additionally, this study examined whether psychological distress, substance use, and sexual motives mediated and whether gender moderated these relations. A multiple-group path analysis of the analytical model was performed to examine the hypothesized relations between perceived discrimination, peer influence, psychological distress, substance use, sexual motives and sexual behaviors. The findings indicated that perceived discrimination was directly linked to sexual behaviors among participants and indirectly linked via substance use. The findings also indicated that peer influence was indirectly linked to sexual behaviors via substance use among participants and via sexual motives among boys. This study underscores the importance of substance use in the perceived discrimination, peer influence and sexual behavior link in Mexican American preadolescents. Additionally, it highlights the importance of sexual motives in the link between peer influence and sexual behaviors of Mexican American boys.
KeywordsMexican American preadolescents Perceived discrimination Peer influence Sexual motives Substance use Sexual behaviors
Support for this project was provided, in part, by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Grant to the first author under Grant Number JRG-205. Special thanks to the principal and school counselors from the partnering middle school, research assistants and to all the students who participated.
D.S. conceived of this study, participated in the design and data collection and analysis and drafted the manuscript. T.W. helped in the data analysis, interpretation of the data and review of the manuscript. E.H. helped by conducting updated annotated bibliographies and review of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Alan Guttmacher Institute. (2014). U.S. teenage pregnancies, births, and abortions (2010). National and state trends by age, race and ethnicity. New York, NY: AGI.Google Scholar
- Allen, J. P., Porter, M. R., & McFarland, F. (2006). Leaders and followers in adolescent closefriendships: susceptibility to peer influence as a predictor of risky behavior, friendship instability, and depression. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 155–172.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Allison, P. D. (2001). Missing data. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar
- Berkel, C., Knight, G. P., Zeiders, K. H., Tein, J., Roosa, M. W., Gonzales, N. A., et al. (2010). Discrimination and adjustment for Mexican American adolescents: A prospective examination of the benefits of culturally related values. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20, 893–915. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00668.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Brittian, A. S., Toomey, R. B., Gonzalez, N. A., & Dumka, L. E. (2013). Perceived discrimination, coping strategies, and Mexican origin adolescents’ internalizing and externalizing behaviors: Examining the moderating role of gender and cultural orientation. Applied Developmental Science, 17(1), 4–19.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Brown, B. (2004). Adolescents’ relationships with peers. In R. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (2nd ed., pp. 363–394). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2014). 1995–2013 Middle school youth risk behavior survey data. http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/. Accessed on 15 Dec 2015.
- Delgado, M. Y., Updegraff, K. A., Roosa, M. W., & Umaña-Taylor, A. J. (2009). Discrimination and Mexican-origin adolescents’ adjustment: The moderating roles of adolescents’, mothers’, and fathers’ cultural orientations and values. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 125–139.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Graber, J. A., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Galen, B. R. (1998). Betwixt and between: Sexuality in the context of adolescent transitions. In R. Jessor (Ed.), New perspectives on adolescent risk behavior (pp. 270–316). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Harper, G. W., Bangi, A. K., Sanchez, B., Doll, M., & Pedraza, A. (2009). A quasi-experimental evaluation of a community-based HIV prevention intervention for Mexican American female adolescents: The SHERO’s program. AIDS Education and Prevention, 21((Supplement B)), 109–123.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Humes, K. R., Jones, N. A., & Ramirez, R. R. (2011). Overview of race and Hispanic origin 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2015 from http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf.
- Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2008). Monitoring the future national results on adolescent drug use: Overview of key findings, 2007. Bethesda: National Institute on Drug Abuse. (NIH Publication No. 08–6418).Google Scholar
- Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S. L., Flint, K. H., Hawkins, J., Harris, W. A., et al. (2014). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summary, 63(4), 1–168.Google Scholar
- Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
- Levy, S., Sherritt, L., Gabrielli, J., Shrier, L. A., & Knight, J. R. (2009). Screening adolescents for substance use-related high-risk sexual behaviors. The Journal of Adolescent Health: Official Publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 45, 473–477. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.03.028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mazzaferro, K. E., Murray, P. J., Ness, R. B., Bass, D. C., Tyus, N., & Cook, R. L. (2006). Depression, stress, and social support as predictors of high-risk sexual behaviors and STIs in young women. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 601–603. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.02.004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2015). Mplus user’s guide (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Authors.Google Scholar
- Pew Hispanic Center (2013). Hispanics of Mexican origin in the United States, 2011. Pew Hispanic center tabulations of the census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey. Retrieved from http://pewhispanic.org/factsheets/factsheet_2011pdf.
- Sanchez, D., Whittaker, T. A., Hamilton, E., & Zayas, L. H. (2015). Perceived discrimination and sexual precursor behaviors in Mexican American preadolescent girls: The role of psychological distress, sexual attitudes, and marianismo beliefs. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology,. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000066.Google Scholar
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA]. (2014). Results from the 2013 National survey on drug use and health: Mental health findings, NSDUH Series H-49, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4887. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Google Scholar
- Umaña-Taylor, A. J., O’Donnell, M., Knight, G. P., Roosa, M. W., Berkel, C., & Nair, R. (2014a). Mexican-origin early adolescents’ ethnic socialization, ethnic identity, and psychosocial functioning. The Counseling Psychologist, 42, 170–200. doi: 10.1177/0011000013477903.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar