Emory Scientist Presents Findings on Depression, Drug and Alcohol
Use, and Risky Sex
ATLANTA —Claire Sterk, PhD, Charles Howard Candler professor and chair
of behavioral science and health education, Rollins School of Public
Health, and her team of researchers will present a series of findings
on the connections between depression, alcohol and drug use, and the
propensity to engage in risky sex at the 98th Annual Meeting of the
American Sociological Association, August 16-19 at the Hilton Atlanta
and Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotels.
Scheduled presentations by Dr. Sterk and her colleagues include:
Saturday, August 16, 2:30 pm
"Depression and HIV Risk Behavior Practices Among ‘At Risk’ Women"
Researchers examined the relationship between depression and HIV-related
risk behavior in a sample of 250 women (predominantly African-American)
living in the Atlanta metropolitan area. They studied the link between
depression and condom-related attitudes and risky practices by assessing
variables such as demographics, background and experiences, childhood
maltreatment and substance use. The results support the hypothesis that
depression has a primary influence on women’s risky practices through
its impact upon their attitudes toward using condoms.
Sunday, August 17, 10:30 am
"Predictors of the Frequency with Which ‘At Risk’ Women Have Sex and
This study focuses on alcohol, women and sexual relations. Researchers
have examined the predictors of the frequency with which ‘at risk’ women
engage in sexual relations while under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
They hypothesized that factors such as demographic characteristics,
background and experiences, childhood maltreatment experience, substance
use-related measures, psychosocial and attitudinal items affected the
risk behavior in question. However, the data showed that education,
childhood neglect experiences, knowledge of HIV/AIDS, the desire to
change one’s risky sexual behaviors, and the amount of help that friends
can be relied to provide, are all significant predictors of the connection
between alcohol and sex.
Sunday, August 17, 2:30 pm
Sex, Drugs and Ecstasy: A Qualitative Comparison of Two Types of Ecstasy
Researchers explored the emerging trends among current 18-25 year old
users from different environments to examine the evolving patterns of
ecstasy use. The data revealed that the phenomenon is increasing among
African-Americans. The paper being presented describes the changing
social settings and use patterns of ecstasy users, with a focus on how
the setting affects drug use and other risk behaviors. Understanding
the changes will assist researchers in improving the prevention of health-risk
behaviors that lead to HIV and STDs and also aid in developing drug
education and treatment programs.
Monday, August 18, 2:30 pm
"Maturing In (Or Into) Drug Use: A Life Course Analysis of Aging Drug
National statistical data shows that the over age 35 group is the fastest
growing population of drug users. Some are drug users who used as young
adults or adolescents and are continuing drug use. Others are new users
who started after age 30. The study looks at survey and in-depth interviews
on baby boomers who are currently using heroin and methamphetamine.
The finding support earlier research on the influence of depression
on drug use.
The work and research of behavioral scientist Dr. Claire Sterk has solidified
her standing as a leading national and international figure in the field
of public health anthropology. She is a recognized expert in the area
of addiction and women’s health. Dr. Sterk has been studying risk behaviors
for disease and intervention in high-risk communities for more than