239825 What we need to get there: Empowering parents to support adolescent sexual health

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 11:10 AM

Jennifer Sarah Tiffany, PhD , Director, HIV/AIDS Education Project, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Nicole Ja , Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Background. Adolescent sexual health outcomes bear witness to extreme health disparities, and efforts to attain health equity must build on the strengths of the communities daily facing these issues. One significant asset possessed by African American and Hispanic families is the strength of parent-child relationships, including parent-child communication practices that can help to promote adolescent sexual health. Methods. We conducted 15 focus groups with parents in several New York State metropolitan areas to explore their perceptions of parents' roles in promoting adolescent sexual health. 182 parents, guardians, grandparents, and other adults engaged in raising children participated. One in four participants was male (24%). The sample was ethnically diverse: 51% Hispanic/Latino, 40% Black/African American, 10% White, 3% Native American, and 1% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Five focus groups, with 42% of study participants, were conducted in Spanish. Detailed notes of focus group discussions were coded to reflect sensitizing and emergent themes. Results. The focus group discussions evidenced active efforts by ethnically diverse parents and guardians to support their children's healthy sexual development. Participants described strategies, skills, and resources that can serve as supports for promoting their children's self-regulated sexuality, healthy relationships among the sexes, and sexual maturation. Conclusions. This study identified a growing awareness of effective parent/child interactions, openness to gaining the skills needed for carrying out those interactions, and interest in accessing needed resources. It is crucial to work to bolster the role of ethnically and economically diverse parents in promoting adolescent sexual health.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this presentation participants will be able to 1) describe ways in which ethnically diverse parents and guardians seek to support their children's sexual maturation and 2) identify supports and resources that will aid parents and guardians in promoting adolescent sexual health.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I directed the research reported in this paper, have presented numerous papers at APHA conferences in the past, work in a Center at Cornell University which concentrates in this area of study, and have a PhD and other relevant advanced academic training.
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.