Source of Sex Information and Condom Use Intention Among Latino Adolescents

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Adolescence is a common time for sexual initiation and information seeking about sexual health, yet little is known about how adolescents’ sources of information about sex influence their sexual beliefs and behaviors. This is particularly true for Latino adolescents, whose sources of sex information and sexual behaviors are vastly understudied. A survey of ninth-grade Latino adolescents (N = 1,186) was employed to examine the relationship between adolescents’ primary source of sex information and their intention to use condoms. The study also examined the potential influences of demographics (age, gender), sociodemographics (socioeconomic status, parent education, and linguistic acculturation), and sexual experience on condom use intention. Among Latino youth, the most commonly reported source of sex information was parents (37.8%), followed by another relative (17.1%), school (13.4%), and friends (11.4%). Hierarchical regression analyses showed that after controlling for other factors, primary source of sex information was significantly associated with condom use intention (p = .042). Hierarchical regression results stratified by gender showed that this relationship remained significant for males (p = .004) but not for females (p = .242). Males who reported friends (odds ratio [OR] = 0.44, p = .003) or the media/Internet (OR = 0.44, p = .008) as their primary sources of sex information, as compared to parents as their primary source, reported significantly lower intention to use condoms. These findings suggest it may be important for Latino adolescents, particularly males, to have additional or other sources for sex information in order to promote healthy sexual behaviors. Alternatively, interventions targeting parents or other family members to improve sexual health communication with adolescent boys may prove essential.

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