Norms governing urban African American adolescents' sexual and substance-using behavior

M. Margaret Dolcini, Joseph A. Catania, Gary W. Harper, Susan E. Watson, Jonathan Ellen, Senna L. Towner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Using a probability-based neighborhood sample of urban African American youth and a sample of their close friends (N = 202), we conducted a one-year longitudinal study to examine key questions regarding sexual and drug using norms. The results provide validation of social norms governing sexual behavior, condom use, and substance use among friendship groups. These norms had strong to moderate homogeneity; and both normative strength and homogeneity were relatively stable over a one-year period independent of changes in group membership. The data further suggest that sex and substance using norms may operate as a normative set. Similar to studies of adults, we identified three distinct " norm-based" social strata in our sample. Together, our findings suggest that the norms investigated are valid targets for health promotion efforts, and such efforts may benefit from tailoring programs to the normative sets that make up the different social strata in a given adolescent community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013

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African Americans
Condoms
Health Promotion
Sexual Behavior
Longitudinal Studies
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Social Norms

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • African American
  • Friendships
  • HIV risk behavior
  • Norm stability
  • Norm validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Dolcini, M. M., Catania, J. A., Harper, G. W., Watson, S. E., Ellen, J., & Towner, S. L. (2013). Norms governing urban African American adolescents' sexual and substance-using behavior. Journal of Adolescence, 36(1), 31-43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.09.002

Norms governing urban African American adolescents' sexual and substance-using behavior. / Dolcini, M. Margaret; Catania, Joseph A.; Harper, Gary W.; Watson, Susan E.; Ellen, Jonathan; Towner, Senna L.

In: Journal of Adolescence, Vol. 36, No. 1, 02.2013, p. 31-43.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dolcini, MM, Catania, JA, Harper, GW, Watson, SE, Ellen, J & Towner, SL 2013, 'Norms governing urban African American adolescents' sexual and substance-using behavior', Journal of Adolescence, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 31-43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.09.002
Dolcini, M. Margaret ; Catania, Joseph A. ; Harper, Gary W. ; Watson, Susan E. ; Ellen, Jonathan ; Towner, Senna L. / Norms governing urban African American adolescents' sexual and substance-using behavior. In: Journal of Adolescence. 2013 ; Vol. 36, No. 1. pp. 31-43.
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