Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

May 1998


Published in Journal of Family Issues 19:3 (May 1998), pp. 315-333. Copyright © 1998 Sage Publications. Inc. Used by permission. Abstract online at


Parent-teen communication about sexual topics was examined in 666 mother-teen and 510 father-teen pairs. Parents and their 8th- through 12th-grade children completed parallel surveys that assessed demographic, relationship, and attitudinal variables hypothesized to be linked to sexual communication. Logistic regression analyses were used to determine which variables were linked to teens’ reports of “one good talk” about each of three sexual topics (whether teen sex is okay, the dangers of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and birth control) in the past year. Aside from gender of parents and teens, demographic variables were largely nonsignificant in the final models. Instead, relationship and attitudinal variables were linked to sexual discussions in both mother-teen and father-teen dyads. Discussion focused on implications for program development and directions for future research.