Parent communication and college students' sexual attitudes
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The high teenage sexual activity and pregnancy rates in America are generally attributed to ineffective communication of sexual information (Mueller & Powers, 1990). Contemporary adolescents are faced with potentially severe consequences for engaging in risky sexual behaviors; research suggests that parents are a primary source of influence on adolescent sexual attitudes and behavior (Fitzharris & WernerWilson, 2004). The central research question in this study was, "Is there a relationship between parent communication styles about sex and college students' attitudes about sexually responsible behavior" This nonrandom pilot study was done at a small Midwestern university, where N = 141 undergraduate male and females were surveyed. Data were statistically analyzed using frequencies, mean comparisons, and a reliability analysis. Observed results supported our hypothesis that participants who reported open communication styles with parents demonstrated higher levels of knowledge and comfort about sexual topics than participants who reported avoidant communication styles. Practitioners can utilize this information by educating and encouraging the use of open communication by parents. For future research, the authors recommend a randomized and more diverse sample be used.