Social determinants contribute to health disparities. Previous research has indicated that community trauma is associated with negative health outcomes. This study examined the impact of community trauma on sexual risk, marijuana use and mental health among African-American female adolescents in a juvenile detention center. One hundred and eighty-eight African-American female adolescents, aged 13–17 years, were recruited from a short-term detention facility and completed assessments on community trauma, sexual risk behavior, marijuana use, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and psychosocial HIV/STD risk factors. Findings indicate that community trauma was associated with unprotected sex, having a sex partner with a correctional/juvenile justice history, sexual sensation seeking, marijuana use, affiliation with deviant peers and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms at baseline and longitudinally. Findings reinforce the impact of community-level factors and co-occurring health issues, particularly in high-risk environments and among vulnerable populations. Structural and community-level interventions and policy-level changes may help improve access to resources and improve adolescents’ overall health and standard of living in at-risk communities.
- mental health
- substance use
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science