Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Rosalie Corona


In the U.S., the Latino youth population is large and growing rapidly and many Latino youth are sexually active. These relatively high rates of sexual activity are concerning because Latino boys and girls, compared to other youth, have the lowest rate of contraceptive use and high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and teen pregnancy. Thus, the need for greater attention to factors that influence Latino adolescent sexual health such as sexual risk behavior and attitudes is imperative. An understudied area with respect to Latino youth sexual behavior is the role that an adolescent’s perception of his/her body has on sexual risk attitudes and behaviors and the possible moderating role of cultural factors. To address this gap in the literature, this study obtained data from one hundred and fifty Latino adolescents who completed a survey that assessed sexual risk attitudes and intentions, body image, ethnic identity, and acculturation. Results indicated that both weight concerns and shape concerns were marginally positively associated with more positive attitudes towards condoms among females and with less positive attitudes towards condoms among males. Gender did not moderate relations when examining attitudes towards pregnancy and intentions as outcome variables. At lower levels of Anglo acculturation, negative body image was associated with less sexual risk attitudes among females whereas positive body image was associated with higher risk attitudes towards pregnancy among males. At low levels of Mexican Orientation, more positive attitudes towards condoms were associated with negative body image among males. Results indicated that none of the interactions of participant’s ethnic identity score with the three body image variables were significant in predicting sexual risk attitudes or intentions for either females or males. The findings shed light on the role of body image and cultural factors on sexual risk attitudes and intentions among Latino adolescents.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2011

Available for download on Thursday, August 08, 2211