Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Roberta Baer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eric Walsh-Buhi, MPH, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nancy Romero-Daza, Ph.D.

Keywords

applied anthropology, health promotion, public health, risk communication, risk perception, sexual health

Abstract

This study investigates how heterosexual young people understand and manage risks related to meeting sexual partners online in the United States. The purpose of this study is to help inform the development of culturally-appropriate sexual risk communication and health promotion messages for young people by linking public health knowledge of adolescent sexual health and eHealth with anthropological theories of risk. With qualitative data from two rounds of semi-structured interviews and two group interviews with university students in central Florida, this study shows how young people experience and prioritize more social-emotional risks in meeting online-to-offline sexual partners compared to physical risks. The prominence of these social-emotional risks implies the need for more health promotion messages that incorporate both physical and social-emotional health risk communication.

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