Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Health Promotion, Education and Behavior

First Advisor

Sara J. Corwin


Background: Increasing parent-child and partner communication about sex and contraception have been identified as protective factors that are amenable to change by teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Purpose and Methods: From June through July 2012, a total of six focus groups (N=30) were conducted with African American and White 18-19 year old males to retrospectively explore their communication experiences with parents and partners about sex and contraception, and their attitudes and beliefs about sex, pregnancy, and contraception.

Results: Most participants felt that parent-child sexual risk communication would be more effective when parents had a history of open communication and a good relationship with their sons. Participants felt that an open and honest relationship could be established when parents were a constant presence and participated with their sons in daily activities. Participants (as they reported that their parents did) believed that abstinence should be promoted first, but condoms should be encouraged if a teen chooses to become sexually active. The participants felt strongly that they did not want to become teen fathers, but reported inconsistent contraceptive use especially with casual partners. Participants felt that using contraception was a "shared" responsibility between the male and the female partners. Overall, participants felt that it was the male's responsibility to "wear a condom" and the female's responsibility to use a hormonal method of contraception. When asked about partner sexual risk communication, participants admitted that it is easier to talk with a serious partner, who they have an actual relationship with, than a casual partner.

Conclusions: This study provides insight about the characteristics and quality of parent-son and partner sexual risk communication from the adolescent male perspective. Health promotion professionals interested in reducing adolescent sexual risk behaviors should carefully consider the findings of this study. The results may be useful for developing pilot interventions to support the improvement of parent-child and partner sexual risk communication among African American and White males.