Parent–Child Communication and Adolescent Sexual Decision Making: An Application of Family Communication Patterns Theory

Jeffrey L. Hurst, Laura Widman, Anne J. Maheux, Reina Evans-Paulson, Julia Brasileiro, Nikolette Lipsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Family communication patterns theory proposes two dimensions of family communication—conversation orientation and conformity orientation—that can impact adolescent decision making. The purpose of this study is to examine how family communication patterns, above and beyond the frequency of parent–child sexual communication, are associated with adolescents’ (a) sexual self-efficacy, (b) intentions to communicate about sex with partners, and (c) intentions to use condoms. Participants were 452 U.S. adolescents (Mage = 15.06; 59% girls; 35% White, 33% Latinx, 25% Black). Controlling for the frequency of parent–child sexual communication and gender, we found the interaction between conversation and conformity orientation was associated with adolescent sexual self-efficacy and intentions to communicate about sex with partners. When families were high on conversation and low on conformity, adolescents had statistically significantly higher sexual self-efficacy than any other family communication patterns. When families were low on conversation and low on conformity, adolescents had statistically significantly lower intentions to communicate with future sex partners than any other family communication pattern. Findings highlight the importance of understanding general communication processes beyond the frequency of parent–child sexual communication

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-457
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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