Abstract: Social Context: Father-Son Relationships Impact on HIV Knowledge (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

Social Context: Father-Son Relationships Impact on HIV Knowledge

Saturday, January 19, 2019: 10:45 AM
Union Square 13 Tower 3, 4th Floor (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Donte Boyd, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
J Lloyd Allen, PhD, Assistant Professor, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Background and Purpose: Youth sexual behavior is influenced by various socio-contextual factors, including family characteristics. However, existing studies of HIV risk among Black male adolescents tend to focus on more proximate influences on sexual behavior (e.g., substance abuse, partner characteristics), with comparatively less emphasis on developmental and contextual influences over the life-course. One understudied socio-contextual factor within this population is that of the father-son relationship. There is good reason to believe that father–son relationships could be especially relevant to understanding the sexual risk behaviors of Black male adolescents and that these relationships might differ based on age. Given the importance of fathers for development, the purpose of this study is to examine the importance of the level of father involvement, and how father communication impacts HIV knowledge among Black male adolescents (13-21).

Methods: This study was a retrospective cross-sectional study, using Wave I data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Add Health is a longitudinal study of the nationally representative US adolescents from 1994 to 2008 with four waves of interviews. Add Health Wave I included an in-school questionnaire and in-home interviews, which was conducted when respondents were in grades 7–12 in 1994–1995. This study stratified data from 819 African-American males of the Add Health Wave I respondents with an identified family composition. It examined the associations between resident father involvement, non-resident father communication, and adolescents age.

Results: A regression analysis was used to examine the hypothesized relationships among, adolescent age, father involvement, and father communication on HIV knowledge. Results suggest that increase in father involvement was negatively associated with HIV knowledge. The findings also suggest that older Black males had more HIV knowledge. Father communication was also associated with HIV knowledge.

Conclusion and Implications: Our results suggest that father–son relationships are important in providing HIV knowledge to adolescents.  However, fathers may not be communicating with their sons about HIV, which means HIV knowledge is not being provided. Interventions designed to strengthen father–son relationships may provide a promising direction for future health promotion efforts in this population