Understanding the Process of Sexual Health Communication Between African American Fathers and Their Daughters: A Multi Analytic Method Qualitative Study

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Kachingwe, Olivia
Aparicio, Elizabeth M
African American youth and young adults living in the United States are disproportionately burdened by HIV/AIDS, and when compared to women of other races and ethnicities, African American women have the highest rate of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Although sexual health communication is a well-established protective factor against unprotected sexual intercourse, African American fathers and their daughters are a largely under-studied dyad in comparison to sexual health communication between intimate partners or mother-child dyads.The current dissertation study focused on sexual health communication between African American fathers aged 52-60 (M=56.7) years and daughters aged 19-21 (M=20.3) years recruited in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Of the 19 participants, 7 father-daughter dyads were interviewed, and each participant individually completed a semi-structured interview. This dissertation study encompasses three separate analyses, each presented as separate articles. Article One and Two used thematic analysis, and Article Three used constructivist grounded theory analysis. In Article One, thematic analysis revealed five themes among the topics fathers and daughters perceive to be the most challenging or easy to discuss with one another, and which topics, when discussed, have the greatest impact on daughters’ sexual behaviors. Each theme had two to six sub-themes. Although there were several topics fathers and daughters found easy or challenging to discuss with one another, there were also several topics that were neither definitively easy nor challenging but rather varied across dyads. In Article Two, thematic analysis produced five themes, with two to three sub-themes each, that characterize the family dynamics surrounding the perceived impact of father-daughter sexual health communication on daughters’ sexual health behavior. Family structure, communication skills, parenting style and relationship quality all proved important. In Article Three, Constructivist grounded theory was used to develop a theory describing the process of sexual health communication between African American fathers and their daughters. Analysis revealed the core category fathers and daughters communicating about sexual health was related to three supporting categories: navigating social, cultural and familial contexts, valuing open communication, and avoiding the topic. Taken together, study findings elucidate the unique contribution of African American fathers towards their daughters’ sexual development and the many factors preventing increased and effective father-daughter sexual health communication. Study findings can be used to inform future interventions as we strive to take steps towards mitigating racial sexual health disparities.