Purpose: To examine the relationship between adolescent sexual risk-taking and perception of parental monitoring, frequency of parent-adolescent communication, and parenting style. The influences of gender, age, and ethnicity are also of interest.
Methods: Data were collected from 7th-12th grade students in six rural, ethnically diverse school located in adjacent counties in a Southeastern state. A 174-item instrument assessed adolescent perceptions, behaviors and attitudes. Youth who had engaged in sexual intercourse (n = 1160) were included in the analyses. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify parenting practices that predicted high versus low-risk sex (defined by number of partners and use of condoms). Variables included parental monitoring, parent-adolescent communication, parenting style, parenting process interaction effects and interaction effects among these three parenting processes and gender, age and ethnicity. Analyses included frequencies, cross-tabulations and logistic regression.
Results: Parental monitoring, parental monitoring by parent-adolescent communication and parenting style by ethnicity were significant predictors of sexual risk-taking. No gender or age interactions were noted.
Conclusion: Parental monitoring, parent-adolescent communication and parenting style are all important variables to consider when examining sexual risk-taking among adolescents.