Examining the relationship between adolescent sexual risk-taking and perceptions of monitoring, communication, and parenting styles

J Adolesc Health. 2003 Aug;33(2):71-8. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(03)00141-1.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Rural Population
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Southeastern United States