Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

November 1999


Published in Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 28 (1999), pp. 395–402. Copyright © 1999 Plenum Publishing Corporation/Springer Verlag BV. Used by permission. DOI - 10.1023/A:1021693129479


This study investigated whether parent-teen disagreement in reports of sexual discussions is due to methodological factors. Forty-four mothers and their 12- to 15-yearold daughters (n = 18) and sons (n = 26) completed parallel questionnaires including measures of communication about 18 different sexual topics during the teen’s entire life and during the past year. Analyses examined whether congruence rates were infl uenced by the use of global as compared to specifi c items, assessment of conversations during the teen’s entire life as compared to the past year, and use of forced-choice as opposed to continuous-response categories. Taken as a whole, results support the notion that methodological limitations are partly responsible for lack of congruence in parent-teen reports. Suggestions for methodological improvements in future research are discussed.