Sexual risk among African American girls: Psychopathology and mother-daughter relationships.

  • Donenberg G
  • Emerson E
  • Mackesy-Amiti Mary Ellen; ORCID: M
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Objective: To examine the associations among mental health problems, maternal monitoring and permissiveness, mother-daughter communication and attachment, and sexual behaviors among African American girls receiving outpatient psychiatric care. Youths with mental health problems report higher rates of HIV-risk behavior than do their peers, and African American girls have higher rates of sexually transmitted infections than do girls of all other racial groups. Method: A sample of 12- to 16-year-old African American girls (N = 266, mean age = 14.46 years) and their female caregivers (73% biological mothers) completed computerized assessments of girls' mental health symptoms, maternal monitoring and permissiveness, and mother-daughter communication and attachment. Girls indicated their sexual risk behaviors (vaginal/anal sex, consistent condom use, number of partners). Results: African American girls who reported clinically significant externalizing problems, more permissive parenting, less open mother-daughter sexual communication, and more frequent mother-daughter communication were more likely to report having had vaginal and/or anal sex. Sexually active girls with greater maternal attachment were less likely to report inconsistent condom use. Conclusions: Findings revealed important risk and protective factors for African American girls in psychiatric care. HIV-prevention programs may be strengthened by improving mother-daughter relationships and communication and by reducing girls' mental health problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • *Daughters
  • *Mental Disorders
  • *Mother Child Communication
  • *Mother Child Relations
  • *Sexual Risk Taking
  • Blacks
  • Mental Health
  • Psychosexual Behavior

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  • Geri R Donenberg

  • Erin Emerson

  • Mary Ellen A I - ORCID: Mackesy-Amiti Mary Ellen; ORCID:

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