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Mothers Who Do and Do Not Intend to Discuss Sexual Health With Their Young Adolescents


Department of Psychology, University of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3, Canada (


This study distinguished two groups of mothers who have not communicated with their young adolescents about sexual health based on their intentions of having these discussions. We also compared these 2 groups to mothers who have had such communications. Overall, 29% of mothers had engaged in sexual discussions with their adolescent in some detail (active group), 22% intended to do so in the next 6 months (intender group), and 49% did not intend to do so in the next 6 months (nonintender group). Higher scores on variables consistent with the integrative model of behavioral prediction (parent knowledge, comfort, attitudes, perceptions of social norms, and self-efficacy for sexual communication) differentiated the 3 groups: The active group had the highest scores, the nonintender group had the lowest scores, and the scores of the intender group fell in between. Group membership varied by sexual topic. Suggestions for enhancing parent-adolescent sexual communication are discussed.