Online Program

Sexual health communication with parents: What is missing?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Katie Hein, Ph.D., Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Jessica Legge Muilenburg, PhD, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Parental guidance is particularly important when students are making their own sexual health decisions. The purpose of this study is to investigate which topics have been discussed with parents or guardians concerning sexual health. We surveyed 322 college students at a Southeastern university using an anonymous questionnaire related to sexual behaviors. The students were predominantly female (75.6%) and white (73%). A majority of students report talking to parents/guardians about responsible decision making (80.4%), healthy relationships (70.2%), religion (66.8%), pregnancy (63.7%), abstinence, (63.4%), and communication (59.3%). Far fewer students report talking to parents/guardians about anatomy and physiology (38.5%), dating violence (37.6%), STIs (35.7%), and sexual orientation (23%). Surprisingly, less than half of students report talking to parents about condom use (45%). Parents have a unique opportunity to talk to their children about sexual health. Because emerging adults are at risk for contracting STIs and generally report low condom usage, programs targeting parental communication with their children about these topics are of interest to sexual health educators. Furthermore, research should focus on increasing efficacy of communication on these less talked about sexual health issues.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify sexual health topics discussed by parents/guardians and their children. Discuss implications of lack of communication between parents/guardians and emerging adults on STI prevention.

Keyword(s): Communication, STD Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have investigated communication as it relates to prevention of health problems for students at a variety of ages. Women's health issues are a primary interest.
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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