Purpose: Studies suggest that the quality of parent-adolescent communication about sex uniquely predicts adolescent sexual behavior. Previous studies have relied predominantly on self-report data. Observational methods, which are not susceptible to self-report biases, may be useful in examining the associations between the quality of parent-adolescent communication about sex and adolescent sexual behavior more objectively.
Methods: With a sample of adolescents (N = 55, 58% male, 44% white, Mage = 15.8) and their parents, we used hierarchical logistic regression analyses to examine the associations between the observed quality of parent-adolescent communication about dating and sex and the likelihood of adolescents' sexual intercourse.
Results: The quality of parent-adolescent communication about dating and sex predicted sexual behavior. Specifically, lecturing was associated with a higher likelihood of adolescents having had sexual intercourse.
Conclusions: The quality of parent-adolescent communication about sex is a unique correlate of adolescent sexual behavior and warrants further investigation. Thus, it serves as a potential target of preventive interventions that aim to foster adolescent sexual health behaviors.
Keywords: Adolescent; Observation; Parent–child communication; Quality of communication; Sexual behavior.
Copyright © 2015 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.