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Low-income, urban African American (AA) girls are at heightened risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and violence exposure may be an important risk factor. AA girls (N = 177) from low-income communities in Chicago completed a 2-year longitudinal study of HIV-risk behavior involving five waves of data collection (ages 12–16 at baseline) and a sixth wave (ages 14–22) assessing lifetime trauma and victimization history. Childhood exposure to violence (CEV) represented reports of physical, sexual, or witnessed violence before age 12. Latent growth curve analysis examined CEV as a covariate of sexual experience, number of sexual partners, and inconsistent condom use trajectories. CEV was associated with greater sexual risk, although the pattern differed across the three outcomes. Overall, findings emphasize the need for early interventions to reduce sexual risk among low-income urban girls who have experienced violence. Efforts to address or prevent violence exposure may also reduce rates of STIs in this population.
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- Childhood violence exposure and the development of sexual risk in low-income African American girls
Helen W. Wilson
Geri R. Donenberg
- Springer US