243825 Youth perceptions of parental attitudes about sex: Implications for promoting intergenerational communication within the African American community

Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:30 PM

Lucy Annang, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Brad Lian, PhD , College of Human & Environmental Services, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Faith Fletcher, PhD, MA , Department of Behavioral Science, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
African American (AA) youth suffer disproportionately from consequences related to sexual risk behaviors, including high rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. National prevention initiatives suggest focusing efforts on developing innovative, effective prevention interventions and mobilizing broader community action. While the tradition of relaying information by word-of-mouth is a hallmark of the AA community, this practice has yet to extend to addressing issues surrounding adolescent sexual health. The purpose of this study is to explore the association between AA youth perceptions of their parents' attitudes about sex and their engagement in sexual risk behaviors. Data were collected from 563 AA adolescents (ages 9-19) living in impoverished areas in a southern U.S. city. Participants completed an anonymous self-administered paper-and-pencil survey and received a $15 incentive. The mean age of the sample was 13.5 years and 53.9% were female. Of those who believed their parents would be angry if they got pregnant/got someone pregnant, 65.6% had never had sex. Of those who perceived they could have a conversation with their parents about sex, 51.9% had never had sex. Of the sexually experienced, 76.2% reported mostly/always using condoms, 73.1% used condoms during their last sexual encounter, and 84.5% had not had sex while drunk/high (all p<0.05). Youth perceptions of their parents' attitudes about sex likely impact their decisions to engage in risk behaviors. Practitioners should consider including parents as an integral part of adolescent risk prevention interventions and promote intergenerational communication about sex and its consequences.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the association between sexual risk and parental attitudes about sex among African American adolescents. 2. Identify intergenerational communication as a viable approach to reduce sexual risk behaviors among African American adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior and I teach and conduct research in the area of women's reproductive health, sexual health, and racial health disparities.
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.