Racial Differences in Concurrent Heterosexual Partnering among Sexually Active Young Adult Women: The Role of Neighborhood Structural Conditions

Jodi Ford, Ohio State University

Objective: To examine associations between neighborhood structural conditions and concurrent heterosexual partnerships among sexually active young adult women in the U.S., including the extent to which exposure to structurally disadvantaged neighborhoods explains the racial differences in concurrent heterosexual partnering. Methods: Multilevel logistic regression modeling was employed using Wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (2001-2002). The dependent variable–concurrent heterosexual partnerships was based on self-reported number of current heterosexual relationships. Neighborhood structural conditions included 4 indicators from the 2000 U.S. Census: racial and ethnic composition, concentrated poverty and residential instability. The sample was comprised of 3,867 participants across 2,314 neighborhoods. Results and Conclusions: Neighborhood concentration of Black residents was positively associated with concurrent heterosexual partnerships among all young women and also accounted for the individual Black-White differences in concurrent heterosexual partnerships. Research is needed to explore the mechanisms through which racial segregation shapes this high-risk behavior.

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Presented in Session 6: Race, Ethnicity, and Health: Contextual Influences