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Eleventh Annual Grant Winners 2010-2011

Title: Protective Factors Against STD/HIV Risks Among Hispanic/Latino Adolescents

Don Rosenblum Ph.D. (FAR)
Karen Grosby, M.Ed. (CPS)

Faculty and Students:
Mindy Ma, PhD (FAR)
Jeffrey Kibler, PhD (CPS)                   
Vera Lopez (FAR)                             
Andrea Bernal (FAR)


Grant Winners 2010-2011

Hispanic/Latino adolescents are disproportionately impacted by STDs and HIV.  The literature suggests cultural variables may contribute to the STD/HIV epidemic within the Hispanic/Latino communities.  Most research on predictors of HIV transmission focuses on negative sexual risk factors.  There is a relative lack of research on protective factors against STD/HIV risk among Hispanic/Latino adolescents.  The objective of the present study is to examine the associations between positive character strengths/assets and sexual risk attitudes/behaviors among Hispanic/Latino adolescents. 
 Participants will be 250 Hispanic/Latino adolescents (50% male), ages 12-17, recruited from community partners that serve adolescents in Broward and Dade County (e.g., Hispanic Unity, Boys and Girls Club).  Participants will complete a 100-item questionnaire consisting of youth assets and sexual attitudes/behaviors.  The predictors assessed will include familisimo, cultural pride, simpatia, espiritismo, personalismo, love of learning, curiosity, prudence, and leadership.  The outcome variables are sexual intimacy (touching or kissing in a sexual way), sexual intercourse, age of sexual initiation, lifetime sexual partners, condom use, belief in premarital sex, sexual initiation self-efficacy, and condom use self-efficacy.  The literature suggests that the youth assets are inter-correlated.  Because of the anticipated inter-correlation among predictors, stepwise discriminant function analyses will be utilized to assess their independent associations with sexual attitudes and behaviors. 
If the data indicate that youth character strengths/assets are associated with lower STD/HIV risks among Hispanic/Latino adolescents, these protective factors can be included in the existing problem-centered programs that are aimed to reduce sexual risk behaviors for adolescents.