Talking About Sex: The Relationship Between Cultural Constructs and Sexual Behaviors Among Latina Emerging Adults

Ariana Cervantes-Borges, University of Texas at El Paso


Emerging adults account for a significant portion of yearly STI cases with Latinxs living in border regions often being disproportionally affected. Moreover, Latinas may hold much of the responsibility for sexual health when compared to their male counterparts; however, culture may serve as both a protective and risk factor for deleterious sexual behaviors. These disparities highlight the importance of assessing Latina sexual risk and to a further extent, perceptions of sexual and reproductive health services. The present study assessed how cultural constructs were associated with sexual risk and STI testing views among Latinas and how these associations may be moderated by parental sex messages. It was hypothesized that cultural constructs would be positively associated with sexual risk and negatively associated with STI testing perceptions; however, familial communication would moderate these relationships relative to the type of messages employed. Latina college students (N=444) were recruited from a Hispanic Serving Institution and completed the following measures: sociodemographics; the Attitudinal Familism Scale, the Marianismo Belief Scale, the Intragroup Marginalization Inventory, the Child and Adolescent Sexual Messages Scale, the Sexual Risk Survey, and the Adapted STI Testing Beliefs measure. Multiple hierarchical negative binomial and hierarchical regressions were conducted to test these associations. Five of the six hypotheses were partially supported highlighting nuances in these associations. These present findings indicate that cultural constructs may serve as both protective and risk factors for sexual behaviors, and familial messages about sex moderate these relationships. Latinas and their families may benefit from interventions focused on individualized sex communication to frame culture as a strength.

Subject Area

Psychology|Developmental psychology|Public Health Education|Individual & family studies|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Cervantes-Borges, Ariana, "Talking About Sex: The Relationship Between Cultural Constructs and Sexual Behaviors Among Latina Emerging Adults" (2024). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI31238104.