Individual and social network sexual behavior norms of homeless youth at high risk for HIV infection

Kimberly A. Tyler, Lisa A. Melander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Although previous research shows that homeless youth engage in numerous risky sexual behaviors, little is known about whether or not specific rules govern this conduct within their social networks and how group norms influence subsequent sexual actions. The current study utilizes 19 in-depth interviews with homeless youth to investigate different elements of their sexual behavior. Findings reveal that their decision to have sex generally depends on chemistry and physical appearance whereas a potential partner's risky sexual history and heavy substance use discourages youth from engaging in sex. Both males and females discuss condom usage as it relates to unknown sexual history, availability, pregnancy, and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Sixteen homeless youth indicate that they do not discuss safe sex practices with their partners or social network members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2481-2486
Number of pages6
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Homeless youth
  • Risky sexual behaviors
  • Sexual norms
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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