207606 Home Alone: Adolescent sexual intentions and unsupervised time

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wendy Hadley, PhD , Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Brown University, Providence, RI
Background: Early sexual debut is linked to frequent intercourse, more sexual partners, and less consistent contraceptive use. Parental monitoring lowers young adolescents' intentions to engage in sexual activity and is associated with lower rates of unprotected sex. This study examined the relationship between the frequency of unsupervised time with opposite sex peers, parent perception of adolescent sexual behavior, and adolescents' intentions to have sex.

Methods: Seventh graders with mental health concerns were recruited for an HIV prevention intervention and completed computerized assessments. Adolescents reported their intentions to have vaginal, anal, and/or oral sex in the next six-months, as well as how many times they were left unsupervised with opposite sex peers in the last six months. Parents reported on whether they believed their adolescent had ever had sex.

Results: Adolescents who reported a greater frequency of unsupervised time endorsed greater intentions to have oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Parent perceptions of adolescent sexual behaviors and the frequency of unsupervised time with opposite sex peers was non-significant. However, none of the parents endorsed that their adolescent had engaged in any sexual behavior and only 12% reported uncertainty about whether their child had had sex. Of those who were uncertain about their child's sexual history, half were still providing opportunities for sexual behavior.

Discussion: These data emphasize the importance of adult supervision of time with opposite sex peers. Additionally, adolescent sexual risk reduction interventions targeting parental monitoring should emphasize the importance of ensuring adult supervision of time spent with opposite sex peers.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the link between parental supervision and adolescent sexual risk

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Family Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Child and Adoelscent Psychologist conducting research in the area of HIV prevention for adolescents with emphasis on families
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.

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