Effect of Mother-Daughter Closeness on Adolescents’ Expectations of Familial Reaction to Sexual Activity and Pregnancy

Amanda T. Berger, University of Maryland

According to the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, nearly half of U.S. teenage girls have engaged in sexual intercourse. Although recent data have shown a decline in the number of teen pregnancies to a historic low, over 750,000 teenage pregnancies were reported in 2002, resulting in 425,000 live births, 215,000 induced abortions, and 117,000 fetal losses. Identifying deterrents to adolescents’ sexual behavior and risk taking has a critical impact on demographic issues, including transmission of disease and teen pregnancy; by recognizing the factors that contribute to teenagers’ motivation to avoid sex or pregnancy, it may be possible to identify predictors of future initiation of sex and of subsequent sexually-related risks. This study uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health survey to examine the relationship between mother-daughter closeness and daughters’ expectations of their families’ reactions to sexual behavior, as mediated by maternal comfort with sexual communication.

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Presented in Poster Session 1