Date of Award

Fall 1-9-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Strasser

Second Advisor

Dr. Teaniese L. Davis


Unintended pregnancy remains to be a public health priority for adolescents as there are a myriad of negative social and developmental consequences for both young mothers and their children. The goal of this study was to examine associations of individual-level determinants of health with sexual risk behaviors and protective factors among a sample of African American female adolescents. African American adolescent females were recruited from sexual health clinics to participate in a cross-sectional survey at 18 months post-participation in a STD/HIV prevention trial. Surveys were administered using Audio Computer Assisted Self Interview (ACASI). Statistical analyses were run to determine associations of protective and sexual risk behaviors with age, education, household income status, sexual history, other contraception use and knowledge of emergency contraception (EC). A total of 410 surveys were included in the analyses. (N=410; mean age=19.06) Almost sixteen percent (n=65) of participants reported ever using emergency contraception. Bivariate analyses indicated that EC use among African American female adolescents was significantly associated with age, education level, job status, receipt of government assistance, age at first sex, knowledge of EC availability and number of average condom errors. The findings in this study are consistent with previous studies exploring social determinants and their relationship to sexual health practices among high risk populations. The findings of this study could be used to design effective pregnancy prevention initiatives including EC education and promotion targeting specific segments of the African American adolescent female population that may be at a greater risk for unintended pregnancies.