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Intimacy and Infidelity: Using the Theory of Gender and Power to better understand the sexual realities of African American adolescent women

King, Kelly Marie (2011)
Master's Thesis (73 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Lang, Delia L
Committee Members: Elifson, Kirk ; Wingood, Gina M
Research Fields: Health Sciences, Public Health
Partnering Agencies: Emory University schools, faculty or affiliated programs
Keywords: Gender; Power; Infidelity; Intimacy; African-American ; Adolescent; Women
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/93md1

Abstract


Abstract
Intimacy and Infidelity: Using the Theory of Gender and Power to better understand
the sexual realities of African American adolescent women
By Kelly M. King
African American adolescent women share a disproportionate burden of STI and
HIV incidence and prevalence in the United States. Interpersonal and behavioral risk
factors associated with the constructs Sexual Division of Power and Structure of
Cathexis within the Theory of Gender and Power may contribute to such disparities.
A secondary data analysis was conducted, using baseline data from the AFIYA study
(N=701) to determine relationships between unbalanced gender and power
structures and the outcome variables: infidelity, condom use and self-reported STI
status. Results showed that there was a high prevalence of positive STI test results,
low prevalence of condom use at last sex and a clear relationship between
experiences with infidelity and having contracted an STI, in this sample of African
American adolescent women. Male dominant power dynamics within romantic
relationships were found to be predictive of experiencing infidelity and failure to
use a condom at last sex. In-depth qualitative interviews (N=7) were also conducted
with women from this sample to determine what factors contributed to women
tolerating male partner infidelity. Here again, results showed that unbalanced
power structures within romantic relationships and prevailing cultural norms about
appropriate behavior for men and women both directly and indirectly influenced
women's decisions to remain in relationships with unfaithful partners. Taken
together, the results of this study indicate that future research should evaluate
relational power structures as a particularly powerful determinant of behavior and
encourage the continued use of societal level theories to better understand the
intricate context of individual-level sexual behavior.


Intimacy and Infidelity: Using the Theory of Gender and Power to better understand
the sexual realities of African American adolescent women
By
Kelly M. King
B.A.
Amherst Col ege
2008
Thesis Committee Chair: Delia Lang, Ph.D.
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the
Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Public Health
in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education
2011

Table of Contents


Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
1
Study Purpose
3
Theoretical Framework
3
Assumptions
4
Definition of Terms
4
Chapter 2: Literature Review
5
Influence of Gender on Condom Use
5
Influence of Gender on Condom Negotiation
7
Acceptance of Partner Infidelity
7
Female Conceptions of Sexual Pleasure
9
Summary of Limitations
11
Specific Aims/Hypotheses
12
Quantitative
12
Qualitative
14
Theoretical Framework
14
Conceptual Framework
18
Chapter 3: Methodology
19
Participants
19
Quantitative Measures
20
Qualitative Measures
25
Procedure
26
Analysis
27
Chapter 4: Results
28
Quantitative
28
Characteristics of the Sample
28
Bivariate Analyses
29
Specific Aim #1:
30
Specific Aim #2:
32
Specific Aim #3:
34
Qualitative
35
Demographics
36
Thematic Analysis
36
Chapter 5: Discussion
45
Discussion of Findings
45
Limitations
51
Implications
52
References
55
Appendix 1
59
Appendix 2
60
Tables
62




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