Perceived Social Cohesion and Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Jonathan M. Ellen, Jacky M. Jennings, Todd Meyers, Shang En Chung, Ralph Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Although physical attributes have been shown to be associated with sexually transmitted disease (SD) rates, there is little information about the association between social attributes and STD rates. Goal: The objective of this study was to determine the association between gonorrhea prevalence and perceptions of social cohesion in impoverished, urban neighborhoods. Study Design: We conducted a street-based survey of 18- to 24-year-olds residing in selected census block groups in Baltimore City, Maryland. Census block groups eligible for selection were defined as impoverished (greater than 20% in poverty) and unstable (lowest 25th percentile for stability). From the eligible census block groups, 5 from high gonorrhea rate (greater than the 75th percentile) census block groups and 5 from the lower gonorrhea rate (lowest 25th percentile to equal or greater than the 75th percentile) census block groups were randomly selected. Participants within the 10 selected census block groups were recruited using a street-intercept method. Participants were asked about perceived social cohesion and control. Results: Results showed that for young adults 18 to 24 years of age residing in high gonorrhea census block groups, the mean social cohesion index scores were 1.7 points lower than mean social cohesion index scores of the participants residing in the low gonorrhea census block groups (P <0.01). Conclusion: Future research needs to be conducted to determine the temporal association between gonorrhea prevalence and local social cohesion dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-122
Number of pages6
JournalSexually transmitted diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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