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Predicting Latino Youth’s Sexual Health: The Intersection of Culture, New Media, Interpersonal Relationships, and Morality



Latinos are the largest ethnic minority group in the United States, with Mexican Americans accounting for about 65% of U.S. Latinos. While Latinos compose nearly 17% of the U.S. population, Latino youth comprise almost 1 in 4 U.S. youth 17 years old and younger. Significantly, Latino youth are at risk for negative sexual health outcomes because they have low rates of condom use, and high rates of both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Understanding the mechanisms underlying Latino youth’s sexual behavior is crucial to developing prevention interventions and enacting effective policy measures. Our project will conduct focus groups with Latino adolescents to understand how cultural and new media socialization, family, peer, and romantic relationships, as well as psychological factors, such as morality, intersect to predict Latino sexual health outcomes. Based on focus group data, we will develop key measures that use current terminology and are relevant to Mexican American youth. In particular, our focus groups will address the following themes: (1) youth ideas and experiences with using technologies to communicate about relationships and sex; (2) what youth know about sex and how they acquired this knowledge; and (3) views on morality and peer and family influence regarding romantic relationships and sexual behaviors.

For more information, please contact Maria Len-Rios at or (573) 884-0111.

Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine

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