Health Policy

Mother–Daughter Communication About Sex: The Influence of Authoritative Parenting Style

Askelson, N.M.; Campo, S.; Smith, S.
07/2012

Abstract

Parent–child communication about sex has been shown to delay sexual activity and increase contraceptive and condom use. The influence of authoritative parenting style and mothers' perception of daughters' risk on communication about sex was examined in this study. Mothers in a random sample (n = 283) with daughters aged 9–15 years were mailed surveys asking about communication with their daughters regarding 11 sex-related topics. Multivariate linear regression was used to assess the influence of authoritative parenting style and mothers' perceptions of risk on the number of topics communicated about and age of the daughter at time of communication for a variety of sexual health communication topics. Authoritative parenting style was related to the number of topics communicated about and was a predictor of age of daughter at the time of communication about sexual intercourse, menstruation, dating/relationships, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV/AIDS, alcohol, contraceptives, and abstinence, while perceptions of risk were not significant influencers of age at the time of communication for any topics. This research points to the importance of parenting style in determining the timing of parent–child communication about sexual and other risk behaviors.