All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Susan Davies

Advisory Committee Members

John Bolland

Brad Lian

Sylvie Mrug

Stuart Usdan

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health


According to the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 47% of the surveyed high school students reported ever having sexual intercourse, with 6% reporting having initiated their first sexual intercourse before the age of 13 (Eaton et al., 2006). Using the Mobile Youth Survey (1998-2008), the purpose of this study is four-fold: (a) to describe the MYS sample (1998-2008) in terms of its primary independent variable (the absence of a father figure) and its primary outcomes (sexual debut, sexual frequency, number of sex partners, condom use, pregnancy in the last year, and pregnancy intention); (b) to determine the impact of the absence of a father figure on the sexual behaviors of African-American adolescents living in poverty; (c) to determine if gender moderates the relationship between the absence of a father figure and sexual behavior/outcomes; and (d) to determine whether the impact of the absence of a father figure on African-American adolescent sexual behavior is mediated by familial context. The absence of a father figure was significantly associated with sexual recency and frequency, sexual debut, number of sexual partners, and condom use; and family rules, maternal warmth, and the ability to discuss sexual matters mediated some of the relationships between absence of a father figure and behaviors and outcomes. Understanding how family context affect the relationship between absence of a father figure and adolescents' sexual behaviors and outcomes is extremely important in creating interventions that are targeted to this population.

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