Impact of parent-child communication interventions on sex behaviors and cognitive outcomes for black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino youth: a systematic review, 1988-2012

J Adolesc Health. 2014 Apr;54(4):369-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.11.004. Epub 2014 Jan 1.


Purpose: We reviewed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infection (STI)- behavioral interventions implemented with disproportionately affected black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino youth and designed to improve parent-child communications about sex. We compared their effectiveness in improving sex-related behavior or cognitive outcomes.

Methods: A search of electronic databases identified peer-reviewed studies published between 1988 and 2012. Eligible studies were U.S.-based parent-child communication interventions with active parent components, experimental and quasiexperimental designs, measurement of youth sexual health outcomes, and enrollment of ≥ 50% black/African-American or Hispanic/Latino youth. We conducted systematic, primary reviews of eligible papers to abstract data on study characteristics and youth outcomes.

Results: Fifteen studies evaluating 14 interventions were eligible. Although youth outcome measures and follow-up times varied, 13 of 15 studies (87%) showed at least one significantly improved youth sexual health outcome compared with controls (p < .05). Common components of effective interventions included joint parent and child session attendance, promotion of parent/family involvement, sexuality education for parents, developmental and/or cultural tailoring, and opportunities for parents to practice new communication skills with their youth.

Conclusions: Parent-child communication interventions that include parents of youth disproportionately affected by HIV/STIs can effectively reduce sexual risk for youth. These interventions may help reduce HIV/STI-related health disparities and improve sexual health outcomes.

Keywords: Black/African-American; Disparities; Hispanic/Latino; Parent-child communication; Sex outcomes; Youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Child
  • Communication
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Sex Education*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control