Violence Exposure and Sexual Risk Behaviors for African American Adolescent Girls: The Protective Role of Natural Mentorship and Organizational Religious Involvement

Hope, M. O., Lee, D. B., Hsieh, H. F., Hurd, N. M., Sparks, H. L., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2019). Violence exposure and sexual risk behaviors for African American adolescent girls: The protective role of natural mentorship and organizational religious involvement. American journal of community psychology64(1-2), 242-255.


African American adolescent girls are at increased risk of being exposed to community violence and being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection. Fewer studies, however, have examined the protective roles of natural mentorship and organizational religious involvement as potential moderators that could lessen the effects of violence exposure on health risk behavior. Data from 273 African American ninth grade girls were used to test hypothesized independent and moderated-moderation models. Results suggest that natural mentorship and religious involvement were protective for girls who reported at least one mentor and moderate to high levels of religious involvement. Our findings may be relevant for community stakeholders and organizations that directly interact with religious institutions and community programs that focus on outreach to African American adolescent girls.

Keywords: Adolescents; Mentorship; Religion; Sexual risk behaviors; Violence exposure.