Is it Necessary to Walk the Talk? The Effects of Parental Experiences and Communication on Adolescent Sexual Behavior

Susan L. Averett, Lafayette College
Sarah M. Estelle, Rhodes College

Recent social marketing campaigns exhort parents to talk to their children about drug and alcohol use and/or sexual abstinence. The efficacy of such campaigns is difficult to ascertain, however, if parents are more likely to broach these topics with adolescents with otherwise greater propensities for risky behavior. While extant research recognizes the importance of family environment and parenting activities, little has been done to separately control for the various aspects of parenting that might confound the influence of the marketing campaigns. This research aims to separately identify the effects of parenting style, a parent’s own risky behavior, and the parent’s communication about risky behavior on her adolescent’s sexual behavior.

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Presented in Session 135: Interrelationships between Parents, Schools, Sexual Behavior, and Fertility