Gender, Relationship Power, and Attachment Among Drug-Involved Mexican American Adolescent Girls

Project: Research project

Grant Details


The sexual health of female Latina adolescents is a public health priority. Rates of HIV and other STIs among this population are significantly higher than European American rates. The majority of these infections stem from heterosexual contact. An understanding of how Latina adolescents approach relationships with heterosexual partners is critical from a prevention standpoint. The proposed pilot seeks to address this issue by examining cross gender relationship power, attachment style, and substance use among Mexican American (MA) female adolescents. Specific aims are to: (1) Investigate how sexual risk behaviors (and protective behaviors, such as refusing sex if it is unprotected) are associated with different attachment styles among drug-involved MA female adolescents; (2) examine how sexual risk behaviors (and protective behaviors) are associated with different aspects of relationship power among drug-involved MA female adolescents; and (3) enhance the feasibility of a future longitudinal panel study on attachment styles, relationship power, and sexual risk-taking among drug-involved MA female adolescents. To accomplish these aims, semi-structured interviews and focus groups will be employed. The interviews, which will be conducted with 120 drug-involved MA girls, will focus on girls' relationships with parents as well as romantic and sexual partners. Quantitative data on sexual behavior, sexual relationship power, gender values, and substance use will also be collected. Focus groups will involve both adolescent and adult staff participants and will entail validating interview responses and seeking feedback on the interview, recruitment, and future prevention efforts. The pilot findings will be used to inform the development of an R2l NIDA grant proposal on how drug-involved MA girls' attachment styles influence the power dynamics evident in their relationships with boys.
Effective start/end date4/1/083/31/11


  • HHS-NIH: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): $10,001.00


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