Intergenerational Concepts of Adolescent Sexuality: Implications for Community-Based Reproductive Health Care with Haitian Immigrants

Authors

  • Lydia DeSantis Ph.D., R.N., FAAN,

    1. Lydia DeSantis is a Professor at the School of Nursing, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. Janice T. Thomas is a Professor at the School of Nursing, Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida. Katharine Sinnett is a Nurse Practitioner and Independent Consultant in Ledyard, Connecticut.
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  • Janice T Thomas Ph.D., ARNP,

    1. Lydia DeSantis is a Professor at the School of Nursing, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. Janice T. Thomas is a Professor at the School of Nursing, Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida. Katharine Sinnett is a Nurse Practitioner and Independent Consultant in Ledyard, Connecticut.
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  • Katharine Sinnett M.S.N., F.N.P.

    1. Lydia DeSantis is a Professor at the School of Nursing, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. Janice T. Thomas is a Professor at the School of Nursing, Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida. Katharine Sinnett is a Nurse Practitioner and Independent Consultant in Ledyard, Connecticut.
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Address correspondence to Lydia DeSantis, University of Miami, School of Nursing, P.O. Box 284153, Coral Gables, FL 33124–3850. E-mail: ldesantis@miami.edu

Abstract

Intergenerational conflict occurs when immigrant parents hold different values from those of their more rapidly acculturating offspring. These conflicts frequently involve disparate views related to sex roles and reproduction. A community-based study of 19 immigrant Haitian parent-adolescent pairs in South Florida compared their attitudes and values about sexuality and reproduction. Data were obtained through focused, open-ended interviews. Content analysis procedures at the level of words and phrases facilitated the categorization of responses. Data revealed considerable differences between parents and adolescents about the sources and types of information learned about reproduction and contraception, when such information is learned, and expectations regarding premarital sexual intercourse. Both parents and adolescents lacked accurate biomedical information about contraception, placed responsibility for contraceptive use primarily on the female partner, considered reproduction a natural rather than a medical event, and believed parents have the major responsibility for educating children about reproduction and contraception. Implications for culturally-appropriate health care center on increasing the role of the public health nurse in health education, minimizing intergenerational and intercultural conflict, and engaging the Haitian immigrant community in the promotion of reproductive health.

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