Objectives: Adolescents’ exposure to violence between parents acts as a precursor to risky behaviors; however, empirical studies that examined the potential pathways from exposure to violence between parents to risky behaviors are rare. Consequently, the prevention and intervention strategies for risky sexual activities are limited without the identification of malleable mediators. Methods: Mediators on the association between adolescent exposure to parental fighting and risky sexual activities are examined, which include internalizing behaviors, running away from home, and affiliation with risky peers. Relationships between these variables are examined for males and females separately. The sample consists of 673 adolescents in a neighborhood located in Chicago’s Southside who completed a survey. Results: Exposure to parental fighting was not directly associated with risky sexual activities for either males or females. However, among females, exposure to parental fighting was significantly and positively related to internalizing behaviors and running away from home, and internalizing behaviors were also positively associated with running away from home. For males, however, only the association between internalizing behaviors and running away from home was found to be significant. Further, the relationship between exposure to parental fighting and risky sexual activities was mediated by running away from home. Conclusions: Targeted strategies for prevention are critical for improving sexual health outcomes among adolescents in low-resourced urban neighborhoods.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by the Center for Health Administration Studies and the STI/HIV Intervention Network at the University of Chicago, which were awarded to Dr. Dexter R. Voisin.
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Mental health
- Risky sexual activities
- Violence between parents