Parent-adolescent communication about premarital pregnancy.

J. Jaccard, P. Dittus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Studies conducted in the 1970s and 1980s on the impact of parent-teen communication on adolescent sexual behavior and contraceptive use generally failed to reveal any significant association. Although 30-60% of adolescents report some communication about sexuality with at least one parent, peers and printed material are identified as more valuable sources of information for decision making. No consistent relationship has been recorded between parental attitudes toward premarital sex (liberal or conservative) and their child's sexual behavior. The literature is limited, however, by serious gaps and methodological problems. Typically, researchers ask teenagers if they have engaged in discussions about sex or birth control with their parents and then correlate the finding with a measure of sexual or contraceptive behavior. Few studies have attempted to identify the content of these discussions (e.g., a mechanistic presentation of facts about reproduction versus an interactive exchange on the pros and cons of premarital intercourse) or acknowledge the complexity of the communication process. Also neglected has been the impact of the family context (e.g., the degree of cohesion or the structure of power relations) on the way in which information is presented and absorbed. Also absent has been any effort to elucidate why a given source of information is perceived, by the teenager, as useful. Finally, an emphasis on the teenager's perspective has led to a neglect of the impact of parental discomfort with discussions about sexuality and the identification of strategies to facilitate parent-child communication. Needed are multivariate research models that recognize the complex interplay among variables that shape premarital sexual behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-343
Number of pages15
JournalFamilies in society : the journal of contemporary human services
Volume74
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993

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pregnancy
parents
adolescent
communication
contraceptive
source of information
sexuality
attitude towards sex
distribution of power
group cohesion
family planning
neglect
decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Parent-adolescent communication about premarital pregnancy. / Jaccard, J.; Dittus, P.

In: Families in society : the journal of contemporary human services, Vol. 74, No. 6, 06.1993, p. 329-343.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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