The influence of role status on risky sexual behavior among African Americans during the transition to adulthood

Steven M. Kogan, Gene H. Brody, Frederick X. Gibbons, Velma Mc Bride Murry, Carolyn E. Cutrona, Ronald L. Simons, Gina Wingood, Ralph Diclemente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little research has examined the links between role status changes during the transition to adulthood and sexual behaviors that place African Americans at risk for sexually transmitted infections. Moreover, the mediating processes that explain these links, or protective factors that may buffer young adults from risky sexual behavior, are unknown. African American young adults who had either completed or dropped out of high school (ages 18 to 21, N = 186) provided information regarding their sexual behavior, role status, substance use, peer affiliations, religiosity, and receipt of protective family processes. Anticipated school attendance, part-time rather than full-time employment, and residence in a dorm or barracks rather than with peers or alone were negatively associated with risk behavior. Parenthood was positively associated with risk behavior; affiliation with peers who encourage risky sex partially accounted for this effect. Substance use fully accounted for the effect of part-time versus full-time employment on sexual risk behavior. Protective family processes and religiosity moderated the association of parenthood with sexual risk behavior. Prospective studies on these processes are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-420
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • African Americans
  • Demography
  • Educational status
  • Parents
  • Unsafe sex
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Applied Psychology


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