The research article authored by Villaruel et al. (2007) entitled “Predicting condom use among sexually experienced Latino adolescents” describes the influence of gender, religious and family beliefs in the employment of condoms among teenagers of Latino descent.
The use of condoms has long been identified as a major tool of contraception and prevention of transmission of sexually transmited diseases (STDs). Epidemiological data show that adolescents of Latino origin are largely infected with viral pathogens such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), mainly due to the unprotected sexual relations. National efforts associated with monitoring behavioral activities of adolescents have described that Latino youth are the least likely individuals to employ condoms, as compared to the youth of African American or Caucasian descent (Brener et al., 2002). It has been suggested that several social influences play major roles in such behavior among the Latino youth. Such social factors include ethnic-specific attitudes and beliefs such as family ties and the perception of specific genders in relation to the rest of the family unit and the society. It is thus interesting to scientifically address these associations and determine the degree of influence of specific social factors to a particular social behavior such as condom usage.
The research theory that was employed in the article by Villaruel et al. (2007) involved the concept of preconceived behavior. This concept upholds the idea that an individual’s plans largely influence the actions that are observed in that particular individual. Moreover, such plans of an individual are generally based on the attitudes that this person carries, including his beliefs and cultural background. The term belief may collective pertain to perceptions based on an individuals actions, as well as expectations. In addition, an individual’s self-control also influences his actions, wherein a person is most probably to complete an endeavor because that person himself believes that he can complete the feat. It is therefore considerable to treat the concept of belief as a measurement tool for a person’s attitudes and behavior. The rest of the underlying factors may not directly exert their effects on the actions of an individual yet in some way the individual may be minimally swayed into a certain direction of progress.
The concept of preconceived behavior was well examined in the situation of condom usage among Latino youth. The proponents of the study were capable of including the personal situation of each adolescent, as well as the youth interpersonal relationships with the rest of the immediate society, such as family and friends. This particular study population is crucial to the success of the study. Additional variables that the proponents were effective enough to include were the social factors that may be present in the immediate community of the Latino adolescents. The research study was critical enough to consider the cultural setting of this particular study group and thus a holistic approach was conducted in this study. In terms of social conditions of these adolescent, the degree of family intervention was comprehensively examined, because it has been established that parental intervention in adolescent activities generally results in proper social behavior among children. In this study, the influence of the parents agreeing to their adolescent child’s usage of condoms is investigated and I am agreeable to this. The association of the degree of religious activity of the adolescent and his usage of the condom is also included in the research. Lastly, the impact of particular genders on the frequency and usage of condoms by Latino adolescents is also investigated in this research study. The authors of the research article feel that their investigation is key to the understanding of Latino adolescent behavior, especially in sexual relationships and information may be helpful in designing intervention programs for the control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases as well as early pregnancies among this particular social group.
The articles described a research method consisting of a randomized controlled trial that was conducted for 5 years. The research project was approved for implementation by the corresponding ethical review board, and parental consent was also procured from the participating Latino adolescent. In order to avoid language barriers, the participating adolescents were given the choice of using either Spanish or English during the interviews.
Approximatley 233 Latino adolescents, with average age of 15 years, were included in the study. Of the entire study population, 48.1% were girls and the rest were boys. Interviews with these participants showed that a Latino adolescent could have experienced sexual intercourse at around 13.5 years of age. It is good that the authors were able to determine that specific country of origin of each of the Latino adolescents. Their study population is thus generally composed of adolescents from Puerto Rico (87%), and there rest were either Dominican or from South America. I also appreciate that the authors were able to determine how many of these Latino adolescents were born in the United States, and many much of the study population immigrated into the United States. The authors were thus cautious enough to know that there are quite significant attitudes and behaviors of individuals who grew up in different places. In addition, the length of stay of an individual in a new country, as well as the age of the individual at the time of immigration is also important. For example, it is easier for a child to imbibe the culture and beliefs of a new country than an elderly individual to accept such beliefs. At the same time, when an adult migrates to another country, this individual may not immediately accept the norms of that new country because he has also grown up to believe that his current perceptions are the best principles to follow for his life.
For the interview of the Latino adolescents, questions were given that address three major Latino beliefs. One question was about the perception of the subjects that enjoyment of sexual activity is decreased when a condom is used during the act. Another question involved their perception that their partner will not enjoy the sexual act if a condom was employed. The next question involved examining the perception of the adolescents with regards to the use of condoms for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. Aside from these questions, other behavioral questions in relation to condom usage were also presented, such as how confident each participant felt with the use of condoms. In addition, the interview also inquired on whether they could convince a sexual partner who was unwilling to use condoms during the sexual act. Additional questions of their perceptions of the condom were also asked, on whether they would use a condom if the place were dark or not.
The answers that the Latino adolescents provided were then analyzed using the mathematical software PASS, which is known to carry an 80% capacity for the detection of any significant variations in relation to the size of the study population. A two-tailed t-test was thus performed to detect any associations between a specific belief and a particular behavior.
Confidence in the Study Findings
The research findings of Villaruel et al. (2007) were very interesting because they described that the gender of the Latino adolescent played a significant role in the use of condom during sexual acts. This shows that a female often insists on the use of the condom and thus the male partner is obliged to use the contraceptive. However, when the female did not insist on the use of a condom by his male partner, there is no actual employment of the contraceptive during the intercourse. The research findings are describe that the degree of religious beliefs of a Latino adolescent did not significantly sway his or her behavior with regards to condom usage. However, if ever a Latino adolescent did use a condom in the last 3 months, the reason for the usage was mainly pointed towards religious beliefs and not due to parental teachings.
The research article of Villaruel et al. (2007) provides important information that will help us understand the reasons why such adolescents of a particular ethnic group behave in a certain way. It is thus important to understand the certain ethnic groups do not behave the same way with other ethnic groups and that several factors are involved in such variations. For example, the role of gender in the use of condoms during sexual intercourse plays a significant role. Often times the female gender is regarding as a high stature in most ethnicities, including that of the Latino group. This may be different in the Asian countries such as Japan, wherein the female gender is considered to be of the opposite stature and that all the decisions are made by the male and must be followed by the female partner.
The role of family intervention also plays some kind of role in the behavior of Latino adolescents with regards to the use of condoms during sexual relations. When the parents of an adolescent have educated their child regarding the use of such contraceptive, the adolescent is thus following the rules laid out to him by his parents. The act of using a condom does not actually prohibit him from participating in sexual relations but actually only assures him that he is safe from acquiring any sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. The intervention of the parents in educating their adolescent child in the use of a condom also helps in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies during adolescence and thus this invention is also important for proper behavior.
It is also quite interesting to know that religiosity plays a certain role in the use of condoms during sexual relations. The Latino population is generally Roman Catholic and this particular population follows the religious belief in abstinence, purity and virginity and somehow the use of condom is a form of following such teachings, although not exactly to the point but for partial compliance of control of sexual behavior.
The research article of Villaruel et al. (2007) is well organized and the research design was properly formulated. The research findings that they describe may serve future research efforts in designing programs that may guide adolescents of particular ethnic backgrounds in following the correct paths for social behavior. The research was also performed in a very careful manner because they were able to delineate differences among the members of the Latino group, such as distinguishing which teenagers are Mexican or Puerto Rica. There are other research papers that take the entire Latino group as a whole and are not aware that the country of origin is of prime importance to such studies because not all Latinos follows the same norms. The length of migration to the United States was also helpful in the analysis of the research data of this article. Such efforts should thus be acclaimed and cited for their precise details and caution, making sure that they do not immediately generalize their observations and insist of misguiding results.
Brener, N., Lowry, R., Kann, L., Kolbe, L., Jansen, R., & Jaffe, H. (2002). Trends in sexual risk behaviors among high school students—United States, 1991-2001. Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 51(38), 856-859.
Villarruel A.M., Jemmott, J.B., Jemmott, L.S. & Ronis, D.L. (2007). Predicting condom use among sexually experienced Latino adolescents. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 29(6),724-738.