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Birds & the Bees: Teen Sex Chat with Parents Associated with Safer Sex


Source: The JAMA Network Journals
Published: 2015-11-02
Summary: Small but significant positive effect of parent-adolescent sexual communication associated with safer sex behavior.


Talking about sex with parents, especially mothers, had an effect on safer sex behavior among adolescents, especially girls, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Talking about sex with parents, especially mothers, had an effect on safer sex behavior among adolescents, especially girls, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Risky sexual behavior among adolescents is a serious public health problem because of the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies.

Communication between parents and adolescents is one factor that could positively affect safer sex behavior among teens, including the use of contraception and condoms. However, such open communication about sex does not always take place because embarrassment and inaccurate knowledge can get in the way.

Laura Widman, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University, Raleigh, and coauthors reviewed medical literature and pooled data from 30 years of research with more than 25,000 adolescents from 52 articles to examine the effect of parent-adolescent sexual communication on safer sex behavior among youth.

The data indicate a small but significant positive effect of parent-adolescent sexual communication associated with safer sex behavior. That association was stronger for girls and stronger for adolescents who discussed sexual topics with their mothers. The association between parent communication and adolescents' contraceptive and condom use was significantly stronger for girls than boys, the study reports.

"Results of this study confirm that parent-adolescent sexual communication is a protective factor for youth, and a focus on communication remains justified in future intervention efforts," the study concludes.

Editorial: Parent-Adolescent Communication about Contraception, Condom Use

In a related editorial, Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Ph.D., M.P.H., L.C.S.W., R.N., of New York University, and coauthors write:

"In summary, the meta-analysis by Widman et al provides evidence that parent-adolescent communication is associated with adolescent use of contraceptives and condoms. Most research has focused on parental influences in delaying sexual debut. Sexually active youths also benefit from parental discussions regarding sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Youth want to hear from their parents and overwhelmingly say that parents matter. Hence, public health efforts should support the unique role that parents can play in sexual decision making among adolescents."

This information is from our Adolescent Sexuality Information section - Full List Here.

Related Topics

  • Am I Gay - Questions to Ask Yourself - Information and test questions for adults and adolescents questioning if they may be gay, lesbian or bisexual - By: Sexual Diversity - Published: (2015-10-22)
  • Over 50% of Children Likely to Live with an Unmarried Mother - More than half of all American children will likely live with an unmarried mother at some point before they reach age 18 - By: Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs - Published: (2014-12-16)
  • Parent Infant Relationship and Early Childhood Shyness - Infants who react to unfamiliar objects, people, and situations by becoming afraid and withdrawing referred to as having behaviorally inhibited temperament - By: Society for Research in Child Development - Published: (2014-12-18)




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