Individual and Neighborhood Factors Associated with Sexual Behavior Classes in an Urban Longitudinal Sample

Kerry M. Green, Pamela Ann Matson, Beth A. Reboussin, Adam J. Milam, C. Debra M. Furr-Holden, Jill Rabinowitz, Terrinieka W. Powell, Nicholas S Ialongo

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Background This study aimed to increase understanding of the clustering of sexual behaviors in an urban sample of emerging adults, and the individual and neighborhood factors associated with sexual behavior patterns to provide insight into reducing the disproportionate burden of poor sexual outcomes among urban African Americans. Methods We draw on 2 cohorts of urban, predominantly African American youth first assessed at age 6 years and follow-up to emerging adulthood (mean age, 20 years; n = 1618). Latent class analyses by gender identified co-occurrence of sexual behavior. Results We found 3 classes for both males and females: high-risk (13% of males, 15% of females), low-risk (54% of males, 56% of females) and no-risk (33% of males, 29% of females). Membership in the high-risk class was associated with school dropout, a substance use disorder diagnosis, having a criminal arrest, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases for both males and females. High-risk females also had higher rates of depression. Low-risk males and females also had elevated risk of pregnancy and parenthood. Neighborhood factors distinguished the high- and no-risk classes for males and females, including the neighborhood environment scale, which assessed poverty, safety, drug activity, and crime/violence in the neighborhood. Neighborhood religiosity was inversely associated with membership in the high-risk class compared with the no-risk class for females only. Neighborhood racism distinguished those in the high-risk class compared with the no-risk class for males. Conclusions Future work should take into account the clustering of sexual risk behaviors. Specific neighborhood factors could be addressed to reduce sexual health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-104
Number of pages7
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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