An Examination Of The Influence Of Mother-Child Communication And Maternal Monitoring On Sexual Behavior In African American High School Students
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentPublic Health and Policy
ProgramDoctor of Public Health
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African American teenagers
The enjoyment of physical contact and expressions of sexual feelings are normal experiences of adolescent development but have also been related to negative health consequences, with a higher prevalence among African Americans. Research has focused on reducing behaviors such as sexual activity among adolescents to avoid related health consequences but often fail to address the parental factor. A few studies on parental factors have noted that parent-child communication and parental monitoring are important influencers of adolescent sexual behavior. They also noted that mothers are the main communicators on topics of sex while fathers communicate about general topics. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of mother-child communication and maternal monitoring on sexual behavior among African American high school students. Secondary data analysis was conducted on a cross-sectional sample of 424 adolescents between 14 and 17 years of age who participated in the Family Adolescent Risk Behavior and Communication Survey. Descriptive statistics, bivariate analyses and multiple regressions were conducted in order to draw conclusions about the influence of main predictors on outcome variables. The statistical significance for analyses was determined at a level of 0.05 alpha. In this study sample, 209 students had engaged in sexual intercourse, 125 students anticipated sexual intercourse in the next year, and 90 students reported to delay sexual intercourse in the next year. The results from multiple regression analyses showed that when different levels of African American adolescent sexual experience are considered (beyond the traditional sexually active/not sexually active dichotomy), the role of mother-child communication and maternal monitoring are not strong based on the three specific hypotheses that were tested. Results suggested that future studies may benefit from a longitudinal rather than a cross sectional design. The study concluded that the nurturing role of mothers can be greatly enhanced when they learn the appropriate skills to guide their adolescents on the path to adulthood with relevant tools to make healthy decisions.