Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Health Promotion, Education and Behavior

First Advisor

Lucy Annang

Abstract

A burgeoning field of research for generational transmission of teenage pregnancy is evident in the literature. However, research on the broader topic of sexual risk possibly being intergenerationally linked is starkly limited. Family context, namely parent-adolescent communication, may largely influence adolescent sexual risk. The purpose of this study was to investigate intergenerational patterns of sexual risk by determining the relationship between maternal sexual risk and adolescent sexual risk. In doing so, this study addressed the following questions:

1) Do intergenerational patterns of sexual risk exist between maternal sexual risk and adolescent sexual risk?

2) Does the intergenerational relationship between maternal sexual risk and adolescent sexual risk differ for male adolescents?

3) Does parent-adolescent sexual communication moderate the relationship between maternal sexual risk and adolescent sexual risk?

Methods: Using secondary data from two National Longitudinal Study (NLS) studies, a series of analyses were conducted to include logistic regression by gender and moderated multiple regression to test parent-adolescent sexual communication as a moderator of the relationship between maternal and adolescent sexual risk among a sample of 108 mother-child dyads.

Results: Logistic regressions revealed similarities between maternal and adolescent sexual risk. For males, all maternal sexual risk variables predicted sexual risk. For females, however, not all maternal sexual risk variables predicted sexual risk. Moderated multiple regression revealed that parent-adolescent sexual communication is a moderator for the relationship of maternal age of sexual initiation and adolescent alcohol/drug use.

Conclusions: Similarities between maternal sexual risk and adolescent sexual risk exist with maternal sexual risk predicting their adolescents' sexual risk. In addition, parent-adolescent sexual communication moderates the relationship between maternal and adolescent sexual risk. These findings have major implications for programs aimed at reducing adolescent sexual risk. Future research should extend these findings by examining additional aspects of sexual risk for both adolescents and mothers, examining different family contexts that may influence intergenerational relationships, and by exploring additional factors that may moderate or mediate these relationships.

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