Risk evaluations and condom use decisions of homeless youth: a multi-level qualitative investigation

Kennedy, D. P.,
Brown, R. A.,
Morrison, P.,
Vie, L.,
Ryan, G. W.,
Tucker, J. S.
Published: January, 2015
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
BMC Public Health
Volume: 15

Issue: 62
BioMed Central Ltd.

Homeless youth are at higher risk for sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy than non-homeless youth, yet little is known about how they evaluate risk within the context of their sexual relationships. In this study, the authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 37 homeless youth regarding their recent sexual relationships, and analyzed the data using standard procedures for team-based qualitative analysis. They identified themes of risk-related evaluations and decisions at the relationship/partner, event, and individual levels. Three different risk profiles emerged from a within-respondent analysis: 1) Risk Takers, who consistently engage in risk and have low concern about consequences of risk behavior; 2) Risk Avoiders, who consistently show high concern about protection and consistently avoid risk; and 3) Risk Reactors, those who are inconsistent in their concerns about risk and protection and mainly take risks in reaction to relationship and event circumstances. The authors suggest that interventions targeting homeless youth should reflect multiple levels of risk behavior and evaluation in order to address the diversity of risk profiles.

Correspondence to: David P Kennedy, RAND Health, RAND Corporation, 1776 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90407; E-mail: davidk@rand.org, Website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpublichealth/content/15/January/2015
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