'People make assumptions about our communities': sexual health amongst teenagers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds in East london.

Institute of Primary Care and Public Health, London South Bank University, London, UK.
Ethnicity and Health (Impact Factor: 1.2). 12/2007; 12(5):423-41. DOI: 10.1080/13557850701616839
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT (1) To explore sexual behaviour and relationships amongst Black and minority ethnic (BME) teenagers in East London. (2) To examine how these relationships are shaped by culture, gender, peer norms and religion. (3) To describe the implications for sexual health policy and practice in urban, multicultural areas.
This report draws primarily on the qualitative arm of a mixed methods study which collected data from 126 young people, aged 15-18, largely through focus groups in the London boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets.
Previous research has reported culture influencing the patterning of risk/protection amongst BME groups. Our data suggest that this is mediated by gender, religion and youth. Religion reportedly influenced young women's sexual behaviour in multiple ways. Young people described gendered norms in meeting and flirting with partners, and the role of mobile phones and peer pressure.
Our paper suggests culture, gender, religion and youth influence BME teenagers in aspects of sexual relationships, and that these social markers may have different contextual meanings for individuals. The multiplicity of factors affecting attitudes/behaviour requires a range of contraceptive, counselling, screening and sex education services available for all teenagers, although delivery patterns may differ in response to differing needs.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Biomedical and public health researchers and practitioners routinely record and comment on ethnicity: however, the use of this category is often vague and without explicit statement on what ethnicity is or how it correlates to health disparities. Presented here is an inquiry into the case of ethnicity in HIV/STI research in the Netherlands. This paper considers the construction and operationalization of the concept ethnicity in HIV/STI epidemiological research in the Netherlands. The concept ethnicity is followed as it is defined, measured, categorized, communicated and constructed in the annual national HIV/STI surveillance report of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and as this construction co-evolves in society through the Dutch media, politics and prevention practice. The epidemiological work of the RIVM on HIV/STI in The Netherlands has resulted in the materialization of a distinct ethnic construction, the high risk sexual ethnic other, presumed, not only to be at heightened risk for HIV, but also to spread HIV in the Netherlands through promiscuity and absent safe sex practices. This construct is shown to be perpetually self-validating as it informs methodological choices, such that, behavioural studies almost always establish ethnic behavioural differences. The construct and related ethnic rhetoric also allow for the extrapolation of "findings" within a specific ethnic group regarding a specific STI to all groups considered ethnic minorities and so a categorical ethnic minority problem group is constructed within Dutch society. This imagery is disseminated through newspaper articles and dialogue in the Dutch House of Representative and HIV/STI prevention practice, through which the construct is reaffirmed and ascribed scientific and social validity. Knowledge of ethnic minorities' high-risk status and their sexual practices that lead to this become common, and so the construct is further operationalized in government budget planning and subsequent research programmes.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 06/2011; 72(11):1838-45. · 2.73 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To determine how ethnic background influences early sexual activity among young adults. Quantitative data were collected during the Research with East London Adolescents Community Health Survey study, a population-based survey of young adults belonging to white and black and minority ethnic groups and residing in east London in 2001 (n = 2,689) and 2003 (n = 2,675). Qualitative data were obtained from 146 young adults between January and September 2003. Black Caribbean, black African, white other, and mixed ethnicity young men were most likely to report high-risk sexual behaviors, that is, sexual debut at the age of ≤13 years, having unprotected sex, and having multiple sexual partners. There were marked variations within groups commonly collapsed as "black" or as "Muslim." Black Caribbean and black African young adults reported high rates of protective behaviors in addition to risk behaviors. Qualitative data confirmed variations in sexual behavior within ethnic groups. Longitudinally, risk of engaging in two or more high-risk sexual behaviors was predicted by low family support (OR: 2.8, 95% CI: 1.6-4.9), regular smoking (OR: 4.5, 95% CI: 1.7-12.0), and usage of illicit drugs (OR: 2.9, 95% CI: 1.5-5.8), with lower risk predicted by low peer support (OR: .3, 95% CI: .2-.6). Young adults belonging to black and minority ethnic groups reported a wide variation in sexual risk behaviors. High levels of high-risk behaviors were reported in ethnic groups known to have high rates of sexually transmitted infections. Effective sexual health interventions should be started early and they must focus on sexual debut and partner choices as well as messages regarding safe sex.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 05/2011; 48(5):499-506. · 2.97 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The health of adolescents is strongly affected by social factors at personal, family, community, and national levels. Nations present young people with structures of opportunity as they grow up. Since health and health behaviours correspond strongly from adolescence into adult life, the way that these social determinants affect adolescent health are crucial to the health of the whole population and the economic development of nations. During adolescence, developmental effects related to puberty and brain development lead to new sets of behaviours and capacities that enable transitions in family, peer, and educational domains, and in health behaviours. These transitions modify childhood trajectories towards health and wellbeing and are modified by economic and social factors within countries, leading to inequalities. We review existing data on the effects of social determinants on health in adolescence, and present findings from country-level ecological analyses on the health of young people aged 10-24 years. The strongest determinants of adolescent health worldwide are structural factors such as national wealth, income inequality, and access to education. Furthermore, safe and supportive families, safe and supportive schools, together with positive and supportive peers are crucial to helping young people develop to their full potential and attain the best health in the transition to adulthood. Improving adolescent health worldwide requires improving young people's daily life with families and peers and in schools, addressing risk and protective factors in the social environment at a population level, and focusing on factors that are protective across various health outcomes. The most effective interventions are probably structural changes to improve access to education and employment for young people and to reduce the risk of transport-related injury.
    The Lancet 04/2012; 379(9826):1641-52. · 39.21 Impact Factor