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Parental Communication and Youth Sexual Behaviour

NCJ Number
Journal of Adolescence Volume: 30 Issue: 3 Dated: June 2007 Pages: 449-466
Cheryl B. Aspy; Sara K. Vesely; Roy F. Oman; Sharon Rodine; LaDonna Marshall; Ken McLeroy
Date Published
June 2007
18 pages
This study examined the role of parental communication and instruction regarding sexual behavior and youths' decisions about their sexual behavior.
The study found that the fact of parents communicating with adolescent children about their sexual behavior and the content of that communication influenced youths' decisions about their sexual behavior. The study found that youth whose parents talked to them about what is right and wrong in sexual behavior and about the importance of delaying sexual activity were significantly more likely to refrain from sexual intercourse compared to youth whose parents had not talked with them about rules for their sexual behavior. If youth were engaging in sexual intercourse, they were more likely to use birth control if parents had taught them about delaying sexual activity and using birth control. Having only one sexual partner was associated with having an adult role model who supported abstinence from sexual intercourse and being taught by parents about birth control and how to say "No" if pressured to have sexual intercourse. If parents reported talking with youth about birth control and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, youth were significantly more likely to use birth control. Data were collected from 1,083 randomly selected households in inner-city areas of 2 midwestern cities as part of the Healthy, Empowered, and Responsible Teens of Oklahoma City project. One parent and one adolescent from each household were randomly selected to be interviewed in their home using a computer-assisted data entry system. Because the delay of sexual activity and sexuality education is most critical for younger teens, the sample was restricted to those youth who were 13-17 years old. The teen self-administered the risk behavior questionnaire by listening to tape-recorded items with headphones and then entering their responses into the computer. 7 tables and 53 references