Quality of Parent-Adolescent Conversations about Sex and Adolescent Sexual Behavior: An Observational Study

Adam A. Rogers, Phuong Ha, Elizabeth A. Stormshak, Thomas J. Dishion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose Studies suggest that the quality of parent-adolescent communication about sex uniquely predicts adolescent sexual behavior. Previous studies have relied predominantly on self-report data. Observational methods, which are not susceptible to self-report biases, may be useful in examining the associations between the quality of parent-adolescent communication about sex and adolescent sexual behavior more objectively. Methods With a sample of adolescents (N = 55, 58% male, 44% white, Mage = 15.8) and their parents, we used hierarchical logistic regression analyses to examine the associations between the observed quality of parent-adolescent communication about dating and sex and the likelihood of adolescents' sexual intercourse. Results The quality of parent-adolescent communication about dating and sex predicted sexual behavior. Specifically, lecturing was associated with a higher likelihood of adolescents having had sexual intercourse. Conclusions The quality of parent-adolescent communication about sex is a unique correlate of adolescent sexual behavior and warrants further investigation. Thus, it serves as a potential target of preventive interventions that aim to foster adolescent sexual health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-178
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Observation
  • Parent-child communication
  • Quality of communication
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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