It Won’t happen to me: The role of optimistic bias in african american teens’ Risky Sexual Practices

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Discovering why adolescents take sexual risks, despite knowing the consequences, is a vital first step in combating the problem. Optimistic bias, the misperception that one is less likely than others to experience negative consequences from health behaviors, offers a promising explanation for adolescents' sexual risk taking. Unfortunately, optimistic bias research has neglected adolescents and minorities, relying heavily on European American college students as study subjects. Results from a small-scale survey of "at-risk" youth indicate that African American adolescents exhibit optimistic bias, believing they are less likely than peers to become pregnant (or cause a pregnancy). Findings indicate that optimistic bias is linked to sexual risk taking in youth, sexual intentions, and attitudes toward sexual activity. Although the current study is one of the first to include minority youth and one of the first to confirm a relationship between optimistic bias and risk behaviors, the findings suggest a promising course of action in reducing risky sexual practices among youth and, eventually, teen pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

Fingerprint

adolescent
trend
pregnancy
minority
health behavior
risk behavior
American
African Americans
Teens
Health
Students
cause
Sexual risk
experience
student
Risk taking
Pregnancy
Minorities
College students
Peers

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

Cite this

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