Sexual health communication patterns of younger versus older teens
As South Carolina’s teen pregnancy rates are higher than those nationally it is important to explore possible protective factors, specifically communication behavior. Previous research has documented that sexual activity is different for younger versus older teens, but less research has examined sexual communication behaviors in the same manner. As such, the purpose of this study was to assess younger (< 15 years) vs. older (16 -19 years) teens’ views on talking about sex and birth control and their level of comfort in discussing these topics. The methodology consisted of guided questionnaire completion with 619 teens within two counties in South Carolina (42.9% female, 66% Caucasian). Although not significant by age group, most teens (62.9%) reported talking to a parent about sex or birth control (< 15 yrs - 63.77%; > 15 yrs. - 62.66%); however, there were differences by age group for those reporting they talked to another adult about sex or birth control (< 15 yrs. - 45.99%; > 15 yrs. – 55.49%, p < .05). Trends in the data indicated that as teens aged, they talked to parents less (both genders), physicians less, and teachers less. There was no significant difference between younger and older teens in regards to comfort level in discussing sex and birth control. These results seem to indicate that teens are interested in seeking sexual health information but whom they seek information from varies by age.
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Differentiate between the information seeking communication patterns of younger versus older teens.
Discuss the individuals from which teens are seeking sexual health information.
Discuss the implications of the results and the need for future research.
Keyword(s): Communication, Adolescents
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a tenured faculty member, and have presented and published for many years on sexual health issues. A funded line of inquiry has been sexual health behavior. including teen pregnancy prevention.
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.