Online Program

Who do teens look up to in their neighborhoods? adults' and youths' opinions about socio-emotional support and role models in communities with elevated and declining teen birth rates

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 9:18 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Diana Lara, MD, MS., Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, Institute for Health Policy Studies, San Francisco, CA
Mara Decker, DrPH, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Abigail Arons, MPH, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Leah Maddock, MPH, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Claire Brindis, Dr. P.H, M.P.H., University of California, San Francisco, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health /PRL Institute for Health Policy Studies, San Francisco, CA
Family environment, relationships with adults, and role models exert a powerful influence on youth behavior. Researchers have reported that family structure and parent-youth interactions such as socio-emotional support and supervision independently influence sexual initiation, contraceptive use, and teen pregnancy. We explored youth perceptions and experiences of socio-emotional support and positive role models provided by their parents and other adults, as well as adults' perceptions about youth role models and parent-teen interactions in 10 communities in California with elevated and declining teen birth rates. We conducted 22 focus groups with 186 youth and 94 individual interviews with adult stakeholders working with youth. Data were analyzed with Atlas.ti 7 using a grounded theory approach. In both types of communities—with elevated or declining teen birth rates—we found a disparity between youth and adult views on role models. While youth expressed that they perceived their teachers, family, or community members as role models, the majority of adults thought that youth's role models were public figures such as celebrities or harmful local figures including gang members. Adults associated teen pregnancy with lack of cohesion and supervision in families due to challenging economic conditions. Female youth, in comparison with male youth, more often perceived a lack of trust and over-control from their parents; while male youth more often identified a lack of emotional support and positive relations between adults and youth. Youth programs should identify sources of socio-emotional support and foster positive youth-adult interactions in order to meet youth needs and prevent teen pregnancy

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the differences and similarities in perceptions about role-models, socio-emotional support, and parents’ supervision between youth and adults. Identify sources of socio-emotional support available to youth in different communities. Identify possible mechanisms through which youth-adult interactions are related to attitudes about teen pregnancy and sexual risk behaviors . Discuss barriers and facilitators to foster healthy youth-adult interactions and prevent teen pregnancy. This abstract is submitted as part of a pre-arranged panel entitled California Hot Spot study: insights into neighborhood level factors associated with teen pregnancy.

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Pregnancy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted quantitative and qualitative studies focusing on women’s attitudes and experiences obtaining safe abortion services, emergency contraception and STIs prevention methods in Latin American countries. I have also conducted research on access to reproductive health services among adults and youth Latinas in the United States.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.