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J Soc Social Work Res. 2012 Jan;3(1). pii: 885.

Effects of Sexual Expectancies on Early Sexualized Behavior Among Urban Minority Youth.

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School of Social Work, University of Southern California.


This study examines the effects of different types of sexual expectancies on early sexual behavior among racial/ethnic minority young adolescents. African American and Latino participants between 11 and 13 years old were recruited through schools and community-based agencies in the South Bronx, New York (N = 223). Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to predict early sexual behavior outcomes, which include engagement in sexual possibility situations, kissing, and sexual touching. The moderating effect of gender was examined using multiplicative interaction terms. Higher expectations categorized as personal/parental and romantic/peer expectancies related to the negative consequences of sexual intercourse decreased the odds of engagement in early sexual behavior; whereas higher academic/career and sexual health expectancies did not. Gender moderated the relationships between personal/parental expectancies and engagement in sexual possibility situations and romantic/peer expectancies and kissing. Social workers formulating sexual health promotion and HIV prevention programs for racial/ethnic minority young adolescents should focus on personal/parental and romantic/peer expectancies in favor of negative expectancies regarding academic/career achievement, pregnancy, and HIV. Social work interventions to delay sexual debut should include a family-based component and should be sensitive to gender differences in sexual expectancies.

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