• HIV prevention;
  • maternal influences;
  • adolescents;
  • sexual risk;
  • focus groups


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the ways in which urban Jamaican mothers influence their adolescent daughters’ sexual beliefs and behaviors in order to incorporate them into the design of a family-based human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk reduction intervention program.

Design: Focus groups were conducted with 46 14- to 18-year-old adolescent girls and 30 mothers or female guardians of adolescent girls recruited from community-based organizations in and around Kingston and St. Andrew, Jamaica. Separate focus groups were held with mothers and daughters; each included 6 to 10 participants. Focus group sessions were scripted, led by teams that included trained Jamaican and American facilitators and note-takers, and audio-taped to ensure data accuracy. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Findings: Four major maternal influences were identified: mother-daughter relationship quality, mother-daughter sexual communication, monitoring or supervision, and maternal sexual role modeling. Mothers’ and daughters’ reports were consistent; both groups identified positive and negative influences within each category.

Conclusions: Some maternal influences were positive and health promoting; others were negative and promoted unsafe sexual activity and risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. These influences were incorporated into the design of a culture-specific family-based HIV risk reduction intervention tailored to the needs of urban Jamaican adolescent girls and their mothers.

Clinical Relevance: In order to be effective, family-based HIV risk reduction interventions should be theory based and tailored to the target audience. The four maternal influences identified in this formative study were incorporated into the subsequent intervention design.

Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2011; XX:X, XXX–XXX. ©2011 Sigma Theta Tau International.