Sexual health communication between mothers and adolescents
MetadataShow full item record
Despite a number of public health initiatives targeting the sexual health of teenagers, teen pregnancy and STD rates in the U.S. remain exceptionally high. Although schools and peers are common sources of information for teens, research suggests that parents serve as one of the primary sources of sexual health information for adolescents. Many studies have focused on the content of parent-adolescent communication about sex, but more needs to be known about how such communication varies by adolescent gender and across different kinds of families. In this study, regression analysis assessed mother and adolescent In-Home interview data from Wave I of the Adolescent Health dataset (n = 20,745). Findings indicate that family structure and maternal education are somewhat predictive of the communication outcomes, yet adolescent gender remains the most significant factor in communication between mothers and adolescents. In short, mothers communicate more about sexual health with girls than boys, and this gender gap does not vary considerably across family structures or socioeconomic statuses based on maternal education.