227: Sexual Health and Communication

Kayley McMahan; Kemesha Gabbidon; Alexander Chan; Shelby Astle; Kristin Anders

2:30 PM
3:45 PM
Session #
Session Type
Interactive Paper Session
Session Focus
  • Research
Organized By
  • Education & Enrichment
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About the Session

Concurrent Sessions 6 - (NBCC CE Credit: #1 hr and Conference Attendance Credit: #1 hr)

227-01: To Talk or Not to Talk: A Quantitative Analysis of Parents' Intentions to Teach Children About Different Sex Topics
Shelby Astle, Michelle Toews, Glade Topham

Parent-child sexual communication (PCSC) is associated with positive effects on young people's sexual outcomes. Identifying the barriers to parents engaging in PCSC can inform parent educators and program developers on points of intervention in promoting PCSC. This study examined components of the Theory of Planned Behavior (attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control) as barriers to future intentions to engage in PCSC. Results from 561 parents, with an oldest child between the ages of 6-11, showed that perceived responsibility of PCSC, perceived outcomes of PCSC, subjective norms, and perceived PCSC self-efficacy were significantly associated with parent intentions to engage in PCSC on a variety of sexual topics while controlling for sexual attitudes, religious beliefs, and gender. Implications for parent educators and program developers are discussed.

-- To explore the association between components of the Theory of Planned Behavior (attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control) and intentions of discussing different sexual topics with children.
-- To discuss the most salient barriers to parent-child sexual communication for different categories of sexual topics.
-- To discuss implications for parent educators and program developers with the goal of promoting parent-child sexual communication.

Subject Codes: sexuality, parenting, parenting education
Population Codes: middle adulthood, U.S., biological parent
Method and Approach Codes: quantitative methodology, structural equation modeling (SEM), parenting education

227-02: Examining the Effect of a Sexual Health Seminar on Incoming First-Year College Students' Contraception Knowledge: A Quasi-Experimental Design
Kayley McMahan, Spencer Olmstead, Kathryn Conrad, Jenae Bluhm

First-year students often arrive at college without knowing how to safely navigate the sexual opportunities that accompany this transition. Often, this is because many students have had insufficient sexual education and may not know how to reduce STI and pregnancy risk. This is problematic, as research has shown that first-year students frequently engage in sexual behaviors but do not consistently use contraception. We sought to address this address this gap by creating a seminar to increase students' knowledge about contraception and STI risk reduction. This intervention taught students essential sexual health education topics, incorporated empirical research, involved community resources, and fostered an open environment for students to ask questions and dispel misconceptions. Our results suggest that this intervention successfully increased participants' knowledge about contraception.

-- To evaluate the effectiveness of a first-year sexual health seminar at improving students' contraception knowledge
-- To compare participants' knowledge gains to those in a control group using a quasi-experimental design
-- To demonstrate the importance of college sexual health seminars in preventing sexual risk and improving sexual health knowledge

Subject Codes: sexuality, education, well-being
Population Codes: emerging/young adulthood, undergraduate students, U.S.
Method and Approach Codes: interventions, quantitative methodology, longitudinal research

227-03: Do Parents and Teens Ever Agree? Content and Acceptability of a Parent-Teen Sexual Communication Intervention
Kemesha Gabbidon, Serena Wasilewski, Joshua Stanz

Parents are a critical influence on adolescent sexuality, but they often struggle to engage in sexual health conversations with their teens. This mixed-method study investigated current parent-teen experiences discussing sex and the acceptability of a family-based intervention to improve communication around sex. Questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups were conducted with 20 parent-teen dyads/triads. Results supported the parent expansion of the theory of planned behavior with parents' beliefs and intentions predicting their engagement in parent-teen sex conversations (p =.001). However, parents and teens did not agree on the content or frequency of sex communication. Nonetheless, most parents and teens found the proposed program acceptable. Qualitative findings highlight the potential barriers to parent-teen sex conversations and reservations shared by teens about the proposed program.

-- At the end of this session, participants will be able to characterize the experiences of parents and teens engaging in parent-teen sexuality conversations
-- At the end of this session, participants will be able to identify key concerns teens recognize as barriers to engaging in parent-teen programming.
-- At the end of this session, participants will be able to identify the content-related needs of parents and teens regarding adolescent sexual health.

Subject Codes: communication, parent-child relationships, sexuality
Population Codes: adolescence, middle adulthood
Method and Approach Codes: dyadic analysis, mixed-methodology

227-04: "I Don't Know What They Call It Now": Parents Navigating Discussions of Adolescent Romantic Relationships With Their Children
Alexander Chan, Samuel Allen, Allen Sabey, Alyssa McElwain

Current literature on parent-adolescent communication focuses on sexual risk-prevention or sexual delay/avoidance, but offers little on parents' experiences in conversations beyond sexual topics or their needs from an educational perspective. Given the lack of understanding aboutparents' experiences with general dating-related discussions with their adolescents,practitioners and educatorsmay be less informed in supporting parents as they navigate this topic. We designed a phenomenological, qualitative study to gain an understanding of parents' experiences in discussing dating relationships with their teens. Analysis of a series of individual interviews revealed themes of reluctance, negotiation of jurisdiction, and desire for more information. A follow-up needs assessment indicated high community receptivity to professionally led workshops on the topic of teens and dating. Family life educators would be prudent in facilitating parenting groups that focus specifically on the issues of current dating norms and parent-teen communication strategies around sensitive topics such as dating.

-- To examine parent-adolescent communication about dating from a phenomenological perspective
-- To expand the empirical attention on parent-adolescent communication about dating beyond discussions of sexual health
-- To provide educators with areas of focus for potential workshops related to parent-adolescent communication on dating

Subject Codes: parent-child relationships, dating, family processes
Population Codes: Family Scientists, Family Life Education, U.S.
Method and Approach Codes: phenomenology, thematic analysis, educational

227-05: College Students' Sexual Socialization From Four Main Sources: A "Mixed Methods" Approach
Shelby Astle, Kristin Anders, Aya Shigeto, Kristin Rodriguez

Young people develop their understandings of sexuality via socialization from multiple systems. In order to determine the most salient lessons about sexuality that emerging adults report learning from mothers, fathers, peers/friends, and Internet/social media, we collected qualitative data from 212 18-25-year-old college students. Preliminary results show that parents are the source of more messages focused on protecting children from STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and sexual violence; however, these messages were often seen as negative or devaluing of their sexuality. On the other hand, friends/peers are the source of sex-positive messages regarding normalization of sexuality, practical advice on sex, and pleasure. Internet/social media is the source of mixed messages. Educators and program developers should intervene to maximize the support that adolescents can receive from these multiple sources.

-- To explore the most salient lessons about sexuality that college-attending emerging adults report learning from mothers, fathers, peers/friends, and Internet/social media.
-- To discuss influences of sexuality messages from four sources from a sex-positive and social learning theory approach.
-- To discuss implications for educators, researchers, and program developers in helping promote sex-positive messaging for young people.

Subject Codes: sexuality, communication, parent-child relationships
Population Codes: emerging/young adulthood, undergraduate students, adolescence
Method and Approach Codes: mixed-methodology, qualitative methodology, quantitative methodology

Facilitator: Kristen Anders

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