Staying strong: Gender ideologies among African-American adolescents and the implications for HIV/STI prevention

Deanna Kerrigan, Katherine Andrinopoulos, Raina Johnson, Patrice Parham, Tracey Thomas, Jonathan M. Ellen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


This paper explores adolescents' definitions of what it means to be a man and a woman, the psycho-social context surrounding the formation of gender ideologies and their relationship to HIV/STI prevention. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 50 African-American adolescents living in Baltimore, Maryland. Female gender ideologies included economic independence, emotional strength and caretaking. Male gender ideologies emphasized financial responsibility, toughness and sexual prowess. Findings suggest that stronger adherence to male gender ideologies related to toughness and sexual prowess is influenced by male participants' perceived inability to fulfill their primary gender role as economic providers and the importance of gaining approval from male peers in the absence of adult male role models. Stronger adherence to female gender ideologies related to emotional strength and caretaking may be linked to a heightened desire for male intimacy and tolerance of male sexual risk behavior. Implications of the gender ideologies documented and their commonalities are discussed in terms of HIV/STI prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-180
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 11 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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