African American youths, especially those in low resource communities, are vulnerable to peer victimization, which can increase risk of sexually transmitted infections. However, few studies explored the relationship between these two health concerns and the pathways that may link them. The present study aimed to address this gap. We used descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, and structural equation modeling to analyze data collected from 277 adolescents ages 13 to 24 years in Chicago. Primary results indicated that peer victimization was not directly related to acquisition of sexually transmitted infections. However, peer victimization was negatively associated with condom use, and condom use was negatively associated with sexually transmitted infections. Furthermore, affiliation with sexually active peers was positively associated with substance use. These findings have implications for bullying and sexual risk prevention and intervention of low-income youths. Attention to treatment approaches and interventions that are holistic and culturally feasible is recommended for practitioners working with urban youth.
- peer victimization
- sexual risks
- sexually transmitted infections