Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Southern Communication Journal, Vol. 80, No. 5, pp.388-403. DOI: 10.1080/1041794X.2015.1081976


Copyright © 2015 Southern States Communication Association. Used by permission.


This research focuses on how high school adolescents’ (n= 159) perceptions of parent– adolescent communication about sex, including communication frequency, parent–child closeness, parents’ communication competence and effectiveness, as well as the larger family environment relates to sexual risk-taking and permissive sexual attitudes. Findings show that perceived parental communication competence and effectiveness were the strongest negative predictors of adolescents’ permissive sexual attitudes and sexual risk-taking, whereas peer communication frequency was a significant positive predictor. In contrast with previous research, adolescents’ perception of parent communication frequency and family communication climate (e.g., conversation orientation and conformity orientation) was unrelated to adolescents’ sexual risk.