Exploring parental factors and their influence on early adolescent sexual health

Diane Santa Maria, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Black and Hispanic youth experience the largest burden of sexually transmitted infections, teen pregnancy, and childbirth (Hamilton, Martin, & Ventura, 2011). Minority youth are disporportionately more likely to sexually debut at every age and debut before the age of 13 compared to whites (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). However, there is little known about pre-coital sexual activity or protective parental factors in early adolscent minority youth. Parental factors such as parent-child communication and parental monitoring influence adolescent sexual behaviors and pre-coital sexual behaviors in early adolescence. Three distinct methods were used in this dissertation. Study one used qualitative methods, semi-structured, in-depth, individual interviews, to explore parent-child communication in African American mother-early adolescent son dyads. Study two used quantitative methods, secondary data analysis of a cross sectional study, to conduct a moderation analysis. For study three, I conducted a systematic review of parent-based adolescent sexual health interventions. Study one found that mothers feel comfortable talking about sex with adolescents, provide a two-prong sexual health message, and want their sons to tell their when they are thinking of having sex. Study found that parental monitoring moderates the relation between parent-child communication and pre-coital sexual behaviors. Study three found that interventions use a variety of theory, methods, and strategies and that no parent-based programs target faith-based organizations, mother-son or father-daughter dyads, or parents of LGBTQ youth. Adolescent sexual health interventions should consider addressing youth-to-parent disclosure of sexual activity or intentions to debut, addressing both parent-child sexual health communication and parental monitoring, and using a theoretical framework.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Public health|Health education

Recommended Citation

Santa Maria, Diane, "Exploring parental factors and their influence on early adolescent sexual health" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3592644.