Exploring sexual risk taking among American Indian adolescents through protection motivation theory

Rachel Chambers, Lauren Tingey, Britta Mullany, Sean Parker, Angelita Lee, Allison Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: This paper examines decision-making around sexual behavior among reservation-based American Indian youth. Focus group discussions were conducted with youth ages 13–19 years old. Through these discussions, we explored youth’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to sexual risk taking through the lens of the protection motivation theory to inform the adaptation of an evidence-based HIV prevention intervention. Findings suggest that condom use self-efficacy and HIV prevention knowledge is low, vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections is lacking and alcohol plays a significant role in sexual risk taking in this population. In addition, parental monitoring and peer influence may contribute to or protect against sexual risk taking. Results suggest that future HIV prevention interventions should be delivered to gender-specific peer groups, include a parental component, teach sexual health education and communication skills, integrate substance-use prevention, and work to remove stigma around obtaining and using condoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1089-1096
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • American Indian
  • HIV/AIDS prevention
  • adolescents/youth
  • focus groups
  • risk behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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