Parent-adolescent communication about sex in Morelos, Mexico: does it impact sexual behaviour?

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2009 Apr;14(2):111-9. doi: 10.1080/13625180802691848.


Objectives: Parent-adolescent communication about sexuality has been shown to influence adolescents' sexual behaviour. This study aims to describe communication about sex between Mexican parents and adolescents, and its relation to age at first intercourse and condom use.

Methods: Cross-sectional study with self-administered questionnaires of first year students at 23 high schools. Communication was divided into three themes: biological aspects, risks associated with sexual behaviour, and prevention. For sexually active adolescents, discussion timing was determined to have occurred prior to, or after sexual initiation. Analysis included logistic regression models stratifying by discussion timing.

Results: Overall 5,461 questionnaires were analysed. Among male respondents 24.3% and among females 10.6% stated that they were sexually active. As many as 83.1% reported having spoken with parents about sexual relations. Communication was more common with mothers. Discussions about risk and prevention prior to sexual initiation was associated with condom use at first intercourse (Odds ratio [OR] = 2.05); late discussion was associated with younger age (<15) at first intercourse (OR = 3.51).

Conclusions: Communication before onset of sexual activity about risk and prevention is associated with safe sex practices. Improving parent-adolescent communication is a poorly studied strategy to influence adolescents' behaviour. Interventions should promote early parent-adolescent communication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Coitus*
  • Communication*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Risk
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors