Quality of parent communication about sex and its relationship to risky sexual behavior among youth in psychiatric care: a pilot study
Article first published online: 22 JAN 2004
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 45, Issue 2, pages 387–395, February 2004
How to Cite
Wilson, H. W. and Donenberg, G. (2004), Quality of parent communication about sex and its relationship to risky sexual behavior among youth in psychiatric care: a pilot study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45: 387–395. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00229.x
- Issue published online: 22 JAN 2004
- Article first published online: 22 JAN 2004
- Manuscript accepted 7 November 2002
- Adolescent sexual behavior;
- teen communication;
Background: The number of HIV infections among adolescents is increasing, and youth in psychiatric care are at particular risk because of their high rates of risky sexual behavior.
Methods: As part of a larger longitudinal study examining AIDS-risk behavior among adolescents in psychiatric care, this pilot study investigated the relationship between parent communication about sex and sexual risk-taking among treatment-seeking adolescents. Adolescents reported their risky sexual behavior (e.g., inconsistent condom use, sex with multiple partners), and parents reported how frequently they bring up topics related to sex, HIV/AIDS, and birth control. Parents and adolescents participated together in videotaped discussions of fictional vignettes describing situations related to sex, birth control, and AIDS/HIV. Quality of the parent–teen discussions was coded based on a system developed by Whalen, Henker, Hollingshead, and Burgess (1996) to code AIDS-related discussions.
Results: Quality but not frequency of parent–teen communication was associated with adolescent sexual risk-taking, and ethnic differences in communication were found.
Conclusions: Findings from this pilot investigation underscore the importance of studying the relationship between parent–teen communication and risky sexual behavior among troubled youth and provide direction for the development of family-based intervention programs that focus on parental behavior during conversations with teens.