Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Health

Advisor

Peter B. Anderson

Abstract

According to the CDC, young people, aged 15â??24 years, share the greatest risk of new sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and the negative impact of alcohol and drug use. The purpose of this quantitative study, based on the theory of social-psychological problem-behavior, was to analyze the 2013 YRBSS secondary data and document if a relationship existed between race/ethnicity and youth sexual behavior, alcohol consumption, and drug use for the 13,583 survey participants. A Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and Chi-Square were conducted to answer the research questions. Results indicated that American Indian/Alaskan Natives were most likely to report first sexual activity before 11 years old (7.5%), while Asians were most likely to report never having sex (76.6%). Race/ethnicity also impacted all other variables, such as drugs, with a mixture of results. Hispanic/Latinos were most likely to report higher alcohol consumption (15.12%) compared to Multiple Hispanic (5.12%), while, Multiple Non-Hispanic were more likely to report use of drugs before sexual activity (9.7%) compared to Hispanic Latinos (7.99%). Social change implication of the study called for developed and effective sustainable interventions to help youth with behavior, and it required full integration of race/ethnicity as prerequisites in alleviation strategy. Dissemination plans involved use of public health campaigns, school workshops, and churches to fight the negative impact on youth.

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