Adolescents’ Reports of Communication With Their Parents About Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Birth Control: 1988, 1995, and 2002

Journal of Adolescent Health

Anna C. Robert, M.S.N., Freya L. Sonenstein, Ph.D.

Received 22 April 2009; accepted 18 November 2009. published online 25 January 2010.

Abstract

Purpose

We examine trends in adolescents’ reports of discussion with parents about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and birth control methods from 1988 to 2002.

Methods

Data from the 1988 and 1995 National Survey of Adolescent Males, and the 1988, 1995, and 2002 National Survey of Family Growth were analyzed to evaluate changes in discussions of female adolescents with parents about birth control methods and STDs, and changes in male adolescent discussions with parents about birth control methods. The sample includes never married males and females aged 15–17 years.

Results

In 2002, fewer female adolescents reported discussion with a parent about STD or birth control methods than in 1995. The share of female adolescents in 2002 reporting no discussion of either topic with their parents increased by almost half compared to 1995. Patterns across time in male adolescents’ discussions of birth control methods with their parents appear stable.

Conclusions

The recent decline in female adolescent reports of parent-communication about birth control and STDs, and the increase in female adolescent reports of no discussion of either topic suggest that public health officials, educators, and clinicians should invigorate their efforts to encourage parents to talk with their children about STDs and birth control.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.