WP 54 Social Capital and a Current Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Urban Adolescents and Young Adults

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
International Ballroom
Jacky Jennings, PhD, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, Amanda Tanner, PhD, MPH, Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC, Devon Hensel, PhD, Indiana University Purdue University, Indiana School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, Meredith Reilly, MPH, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD and Jonathan Ellen, M.D., Center for Child and Community Health Research, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Background: This study explored the relationship between social and organizational characteristics of neighborhoods including social cohesion and informal social control and a current bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) among adolescents and young adults in one U.S. urban setting. 

Methods: Data for the current study were collected from April 2004 to April 2007 in a cross-sectional household study.  The target population included English-speaking, sexually-active persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years who resided in 486 neighborhoods.  The study sample included 599 participants from 63 neighborhoods. 

Results: In a series of weighted multilevel logistic regression models stratified by gender, informal social control was significantly associated with a decreased odds of a current bacterial STI among females (AOR 0.39, 95% CI 0.26, 0.59) after controlling for individual social support and other factors.  The association while in a similar direction was not significant for males (AOR 0.78, 95% CI 0.37, 1.63).  Social cohesion was not significantly associated with a current bacterial STI among females (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.26, 2.07) and separately, males (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.26, 2.07).  Individual social support was associated with an almost four-fold increase in the odds of a bacterial STI among males (AOR 3.78, 95% CI 1.85, 7.71) after controlling for social cohesion and other individual and neighborhood factors, a finding which is in contrast to our hypotheses. 

Conclusions: The findings warrant further study regarding the causal relationship between informal social control and STIs among U.S. urban youth.