Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Health Services and Policy Management

Sub-Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Emily S. Mann

Abstract

This study uses an intersectional theoretical framework to examine Black college women’s sexual health by focusing on how they engage in sexual decision making within their social contexts. This qualitative study analyzed 20 individual in-depth interviews of Black female undergraduate students, ages 18-22, who attend a predominantly white institution (PWI) in the Southeastern United States. The themes that emerged from qualitative data analysis include Black female undergraduate students’ perceptions of the sexual culture of their campus and the protective strategies they employ to navigate the sexual culture in order to achieve and/or maintain physical, emotional, and social well-being. Key findings include perceptions of gender and racial disparities on campus, which shape the sexual culture; the internalization of racial and gendered stereotypes and their impact on participants’ actual and potential intimate relationships; and participants’ strategies of sexual protection, which include the significance of knowing one’s sexual partner, delaying sexual initiation, voluntary abstinence, and exercising sexual agency. The insights yielded from this study highlight the value of centering the sexual subjectivities of Black young women in research on sexual health.

Available for download on Monday, May 07, 2018

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