Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

May 2003


Published in Journal of Marriage and Family 65 (May 2003), pp. 474–481. Copyright © 2003 by the National Council on Family Relations. Published by Blackwell Publishing, Inc. Used by permission. “The definitive version is online at


Latina female (n = 97) and Latino male (n = 69) college students (M age =21.4 years) completed self-report surveys regarding family of origin experiences, including sexual communication with parents while growing up. Latino parents of this comparatively highly educated sample tended to use direct rather than indirect strategies for communicating about sexuality with their children. Young women reported higher levels of sexual communication with mothers while growing up than did young men, and respondents reported less communication with fathers than mothers. Among young women, sexual communication with mother was positively associated with non-Mexican origin and negatively associated with having older brothers living at home. In contrast, maternal education was positively associated with mother-son communication about sex. Paternal education and the absence of older brothers positively predicted communication with both sons and daughters. The analyses provide novel information regarding sexual communication in Latino families and suggest directions for future research.