Skip to main content
The Relationship of Character Strengths to Sexual Behaviors and Related Risks among African American Adolescents
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
  • Mindy M. Ma, Nova Southeastern University
  • Jeffery L. Kibler, Nova Southeastern University
  • Katherine M. Dollar, State University of New York
  • Kaye Sly, Jackson State University
  • Deanne Samuels, University of Miami
  • Melissa W. Benford, Jackson State University
  • Melissa Coleman, Jackson State University
  • LaTonya Lott, Jackson State University
  • Kevin Patterson, Jackson State University
  • Floyd Wiley, Jackson State University
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Positive Psychology,
  • Character Strengths,
  • Sexual Behaviors,
  • Adolescents
Background: Relatively few studies have examined positive character traits that are associated with lower HIV/STD risks. Purpose: In the present study, the relationships of character strengths with sexual behaviors and attitudes were assessed among 383 African-American adolescents. Method: Character strengths were measured using the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths. Because the strengths were highly inter-correlated, stepwise discriminant function analyses were utilized to assess their independent associations with sexual behaviors and attitudes. Results: Greater Love of Learning was related to self-reported abstinence from sexual intercourse for boys and self-reported abstinence from drug use for boys and girls. Greater Love of Learning and Curiosity were related to the belief in no premarital sex for boys, whereas only Curiosity was significant for girls. Prudence was related to reported abstinence from sexual intimacy (e.g., touching or kissing). Judgment was related to sexual initiation efficacy for girls and boys, whereas Leadership was only significant for girls. Conclusions: The findings suggest that character strengths may be associated with lower levels of sexual behaviors and sex-related beliefs among a sample of African-American adolescents.
Citation Information
Mindy M. Ma, Jeffery L. Kibler, Katherine M. Dollar, Kaye Sly, et al.. "The Relationship of Character Strengths to Sexual Behaviors and Related Risks among African American Adolescents" International Journal of Behavioral Medicine Vol. 15 Iss. 4 (2008) p. 319 - 327 ISSN: 1070-5503
Available at: