This study examined whether exposure to community violence was related to sexual risk behaviors in a nationally representative sample of young adults and if there were gender or racial/ethnic differences in these relationships. The analytic sample for this study was drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and was composed of 7,726 unmarried, heterosexual African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic/Latino young adults aged 18 to 27 years old. Approximately 12% of participants reported some community violence exposures, with men and African Americans reporting the highest rates of such exposures. Regression analyses controlling for age, gender, parental education, and family structure indicated that exposures to community violence were associated with earlier sexual debut history, a higher number of sexual partners within the previous 12 months, and a higher number of total sexual partners. Additionally, violence exposures had stronger effects for males and weaker effects for African Americans. Primary and secondary sexual risk prevention initiatives would need to consider how patterns of sexual risk behaviors may be related to exposure to community violence and how such relationships may differ based on gender and race/ethnicity. Future research should also seek to illuminate pathways connecting these 2 major public health concerns.
community violence exposures, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual behaviors
Journal of Social Service Research
© Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Voisin DR, Chen P, Fullilove R, Jacobson KC. Community Violence Exposure and Sexual Behaviors in a Nationally Representative Sample of Young Adults: The Effects of Race/Ethnicity and Gender. J Soc Serv Res. 2015;41(3):295-306. doi: 10.1080/01488376.2014.987941. Epub 2015 Jan 21. PMID: 34321702; PMCID: PMC8315110.