Association of gender norms, relationship and intrapersonal variables, and acculturation with sexual communication among young adult latinos

Carmen Alvarez, Antonia Villarruel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Sexual communication is an important strategy in promoting safer sex behavior, but few investigators have explored sexual communication among young adult Latinos. In this cross-sectional study, we examined the role of traditional gender norms, relationship factors (relationship characteristics and relationship power), intrapersonal factors (attitudes and subjective norms), and acculturation as statistical predictors of three different types of sexual communication (sexual health, pleasure discussions, and physical sexual communication) in Latino women and men. The sample was 220 Latinos (111 women and 109 men) ages 18-30 years who were sexually active in heterosexual relationships. In multiple regression, after controlling for relationship power, intrapersonal factors, and acculturation, traditional gender norms did not predict sexual communication for either women or men. For both women and men, pleasure-focused communication (pleasure discussions and physical sexual communication) increased with acculturation. For women, the strongest predictor of all types of sexual communication was their attitudes toward sexual communication. Greater relationship power and lower acculturation were associated with women's sexual health communication. For men, no variables explained sexual health communication or physical sexual communication, and acculturation and attitude toward pleasure discussions predicted pleasure communication. Women who believed they had power in their relationships and had positive attitudes toward pleasure discussions and a high level of acculturation reported more physical sexual communication. Findings suggest the importance of relationship power, attitudes, and acculturation in young adult Latinos' sexual communication. Sexual risk prevention strategies among young adult Latinos should include encouraging sexual communication by supporting positive attitudes toward pleasure-focused communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Acculturation
  • Attitudes
  • Gender norms
  • Latinos
  • Relationship power
  • Sexual health communication
  • Sexual risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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