Ethnic Identity, Empowerment, Social Support and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Black Adolescent Girls: Examining Drug Use as a Mediator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Substance abuse and sexual health research tends to overlook the resiliency skills that Black adolescent girls possess. Using a strengths-based lens, this study examines the role of protective factors: (e.g. ethnic identity, social support, and psychological empowerment) on sexual risk behaviors testing drug use as a mediator among a sample of Black adolescent girls. The study uses a sample (N = 340) female adolescents (13–17 years old) who identified as being Black only and reside in a northeastern urban community in New Jersey. Structural equation modeling was employed to test the hypothesized model of the mediating role of drug use on sexual risk behaviors among this sample. Findings revealed that drug use significantly mediated the relationship between social support, ethnic identity, and psychological empowerment on sexual risk behaviors, with high ethnic identity scores having the strongest relationship on low sexual risk behaviors and low levels of drug use. Given the rise of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States among Black adolescent girls, findings from this study can contribute to development of culturally appropriate and innovative strategies to reduce risky behaviors by promoting social and cultural strengths among Black girls living in urban communities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Black girls
  • Drug use
  • Ethnic identity
  • Prevention
  • Urban

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