The Social Environment and Childbearing Expectations: Implications for Strength-Based Sexual Health Interventions for Latino Youth

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2016 Jun;3(2):291-300. doi: 10.1007/s40615-015-0145-4. Epub 2015 Jul 14.


In the United States, adolescent childbearing is disproportionately higher among Latino youth, a growing population facing substantial social exclusion. Exploring the relationship between the social environment and sexual health outcomes among Latino youth may offer insights into the development of novel interventions. In this study, Latino youth in partnerships were recruited from neighborhood venues in San Francisco and completed in-depth interviews. Youth reported a desire to complete higher education goals prior to starting a family to improve future opportunities and further personal development. Youth stated that social network members, family and partners, were supportive of their individual childbearing expectations. Social environment barriers tied to poverty, immigration status, and gang violence hindered educational attainment. Some differences were noted by gender and immigrant generation. Building on protective social ties and creating avenues in poor, urban neighborhoods for Latino youth to fully access educational opportunities may counter early childbearing and improve sexual health.

Keywords: Latino youth; Protective factors; Resilience; Sexual health; Social environment; Structural barriers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Sexual Health*
  • Social Environment*