205867 It all starts at home: Young people's perspectives on the role of parents/guardians in promoting adolescent sexual health

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:13 AM

Jennifer Sarah Tiffany, PhD , Director, HIV/AIDS Education Project, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Jaqueline Davis-Manigaulte, EdD , Family and Youth Development, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, New York, NY
Mary Grenz Jalloh, MPH, MS , New York State Center for School Safety, New Paltz, NY
Jane L. Powers, PhD , Family Life Development Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Amanda Purington, MS , Family Life Development Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Premini Sabaratnam, MPH , Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Jonathan D. Klein, MD, MPH , Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Parent-child connectedness and communication are key factors in promoting adolescent sexual health. Youth can provide crucial perspectives on the quality and complexity of parent-teen relationships, and their impact on young people's access to sexual health information, education and services.

291 youth from throughout New York State took part in focus groups about adolescent sexual health during late 2008. Focus group participants were diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual experience, rural/urban/suburban residence, and health status. Focus groups discussed sources of information/education, access to services, experiences with sexual health care services, disparities, and ideas for improving services. Youth commented about parents in relation to virtually all of these topics. Their comments reflected both the importance and the complex reality of parent-teen relationships.

Parents were cited as among the most important sources of information about sexual health in the majority of the focus groups. However, many youth identified barriers to effective communication. Privacy concerns pervaded discussions about accessing services, and “parents finding out” was cited as a major fear related to obtaining needed services. Youth repeatedly stated the need for education programs for parents that would help to increase parents' knowledge, comfort level, and communication skills related to adolescent sexual health.

Preliminary findings from the youth focus groups have been used to develop topics and questions for focus groups with parents/guardians regarding adolescent sexual health. Analysis of youth and adult focus group data will inform efforts to enhance parent education and engagement in promoting adolescent sexual health.

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe ways in which youth see parents/guardians as helping to promote their sexual health. 2) Identify ways in which concern about

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI on research and educational projects related to adolescent sexual health and building communication between parents/guardians and youth. I was actively involved in designing and conducting the focus group research reported in this paper. I have presented numerous other papers on related topics at APHA.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.