Emotion: An important link to HIV prevention in Black adolescents with mental illnesses

March 27, 2017, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Bridgette M. Brawner, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Credit: Penn Nursing

Nearly half of all US adolescents aged 13 to 19 are sexually active. But black adolescents, who represent only 14 percent of that population, account for 63 percent of new cases of HIV among adolescents. In addition, it's estimated that more than 2 million adolescents, many of whom are sexually active, experience a major depressive episode. Could unique psychological factors that hamper emotional regulation help explain differences in HIV/STI risk-related sexual behaviors among heterosexually active black youth with mental illnesses?

A new University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) study has investigated this question. The findings suggest that psychoeducation and skills building may help sever the emotion-behavior link that contributes to HIV/STI risk among this demographic. The study, "Feelings Matter: Depression Severity and Emotion Regulation in HIV/STI Risk-Related Sexual Behaviors," which has been published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, was designed to examine contextual factors related to HIV/STI risk among heterosexually active black adolescents with . It explicitly focused on depression and to uncover how these factors in?uence sexual decision-making.

"Blacks, adolescents, and people with mental illnesses are all disproportionately affected by HIV/STIs," explains the study's lead author Bridgette M. Brawner, PhD, APRN, Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health. "We know that the unique psychopathology of mental illness, including impulsivity and engaging in unprotected sex to alleviate depressed mood, may heighten one 's HIV/STI risk. Our study indicates we need to better understand unique HIV/STI prevention needs among black adolescents with mental illnesses and that improving coping mechanisms to help regulate emotion should be addressed in HIV/STI prevention research."

Explore further: Obesity among adolescents with bipolar disorder is linked to increased illness severity

More information: Bridgette M. Brawner et al. Feelings Matter: Depression Severity and Emotion Regulation in HIV/STI Risk-Related Sexual Behaviors, Journal of Child and Family Studies (2017). DOI: 10.1007/s10826-017-0674-z

Related Stories

Obesity among adolescents with bipolar disorder is linked to increased illness severity

December 1, 2016
Bipolar disorder is one of the most disabling medical conditions among adolescents worldwide. Similarly, being overweight or obese is common in adolescents and is known to confer risk for cardiovascular disease and other ...

Online and offline sexual risk behaviors related in teens

November 5, 2012
(HealthDay)—Although a minority of adolescents are at high risk for online sexual risk behaviors (OnSRB), these teenagers appear to also be at risk for offline sexual risk behaviors (OffSRB), according to research published ...

The consequences of sexual abuse in Swiss adolescents

October 21, 2016
In an investigation published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics the harm of sexual abuse in Swiss adolescents is analyzed. Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) comprises activities with actual physical contact ...

A meta-analysis of three types of peer norms and their relation with adolescent sexual behavior

September 12, 2014
Researchers at Utrecht University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute collaborated on a meta-analysis of research on adolescent sexual behavior.

Teen sex talks with parents, especially moms, associated with safer sex

November 2, 2015
Talking about sex with parents, especially mothers, had an effect on safer sex behavior among adolescents, especially girls, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Sex and BC East Asian teenagers

July 17, 2013
A new study by University of British Columbia researchers shows that although 90 per cent of East Asian adolescents in British Columbia are not sexually active, those who are may engage in high-risk sexual behaviours.

Recommended for you

HIV exports viral protein in cellular packages

February 15, 2018
HIV may be able to affect cells it can't directly infect by packaging a key protein within the host's cellular mail and sending it out into the body, according to a new study out of a University of North Carolina Lineberger ...

Can gene therapy be harnessed to fight the AIDS virus?

February 13, 2018
For more than a decade, the strongest AIDS drugs could not fully control Matt Chappell's HIV infection. Now his body controls it by itself, and researchers are trying to perfect the gene editing that made this possible.

Big data methods applied to the fitness landscape of the HIV envelope protein

February 7, 2018
Despite significant advances in medicine, there is still no effective vaccine for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), although recent hope has emerged through the discovery of antibodies capable of neutralizing diverse ...

Scientists report big improvements in HIV vaccine production

February 5, 2018
Research on HIV over the past decade has led to many promising ideas for vaccines to prevent infection by the AIDS virus, but very few candidate vaccines have been tested in clinical trials. One reason for this is the technical ...

Microbiome research refines HIV risk for women

January 25, 2018
Drawing from data collected for years by AIDS researchers in six African nations, scientists have pinpointed seven bacterial species whose presence in high concentrations may significantly increase the risk of HIV infection ...

Researchers find latent HIV reservoirs inherently resistant to elimination by CD8+ T-cells

January 22, 2018
The latest "kick-and-kill" research to eliminate the HIV virus uncovered a potential obstacle in finding a cure. A recent study by researchers at the George Washington University (GW) found that latent HIV reservoirs show ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.