Objectives: This study examined the relationship between adolescent perceptions of maternal approval of the use of birth control and sexual outcomes across a 12-month period.
Methods: A subsample of the Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health database was used in the context of a prospective design. Approximately 10,000 students in grades 7 to 11 were interviewed twice, 1 year apart.
Results: Adolescent perceptions of maternal approval of birth control were associated with an increased likelihood of sexual intercourse over the next 12 months for virgins at wave 1. The perceptions also were related to an increase in birth control use but showed an ambiguous relation to the probability of pregnancy. High relationship satisfaction between adolescents and mothers was associated with a higher probability of birth control use and a lower probability of both sexual intercourse and pregnancy.
Conclusions: The results suggest that perceived parental approval of birth control may increase the probability of sexual activity in some adolescents. "Safer sex" messages must be conveyed by parents with thought and care.