ERIC Number: ED358380
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug
The Effects of Parent-Adolescent Communication on Adolescent Sexual Behavior.
Graham, Melody A.
The rate of sexual activity among adolescents has been rising steadily in the last 10 years, and adolescents are initiating sexual activity at younger ages. It has been widely assumed that parents can have an effect on their adolescent's sexual behavior and attitudes. This study was designed to investigate how parent-adolescent communication influences adolescent sexual activity. Respondents for the study were drawn from a stratified sample of students in grades seven through twelve. A total of 1,380 students participated in the study which was conducted in April 1992. An 85-item questionnaire was used which contained items about sexual and birth control practices, reproductive knowledge and attitudes, parents' and friends' perceived attitudes toward sexuality and background and demographic information. The study indicated that 19% of the 7th grade students reported having had sexual intercourse at least once compared to 64% of the 12th grade students. In addition, 46% of these sexually active adolescents were using birth control. It is clear that open communication within the family, family satisfaction, feeling comfortable talking to one's parents about sex and having parents communicate information about sexuality are all important but do not have a direct effect on adolescent sexual behavior or birth control use. What is more important for influencing behavior is parents who are a primary source for problem solving, who clearly communicate that sexual behavior is unacceptable during adolescence--and who do so in a positive way. The study found no relationship between communication about sex and how adolescents view their parents' approval or disapproval. What appears to be important is not just communication, but communication about values. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (100th, Washington, DC, August 14-18, 1992).