Past Press Releases

For Immediate Release: April 2, 2015

The Wellesley Centers for Women continues its spring lunchtime seminar series with the program, "Communications about Sex in the Nuclear Family and Beyond: How Extended Families Support Teens' Sexual Health," on Thursday, April 16, from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., presented by Jennifer Grossman, Ph.D.

Talking with family about sex can protect teens from risky sexual behavior. Parents play a critical role in family sexuality communication, but today’s adolescents often rely on nontraditional communities for support, including extended family and “fictive kin,” who can serve as core parts of the family unit, particularly among African American and Latino families. Beyond a focus on parents, few studies investigate who in the family teens talk to about sex, why they talk to them, and how these conversations connect with teens’ sexual behavior. This talk will share findings from teen surveys and teen and parent interviews to describe the who, what, and why of teens’ talk about sex with their extended families as well as how talking with extended family relates to teens’ sexual behavior.

Grossman is a research scientist at WCW. Her research focuses on adolescent development, racial and ethnic identity, and sexual health and risk-taking. She is working on several projects about sex and relationships, including an evaluation of a Planned Parenthood middle school sex education program.

Most lunchtime seminars are held Thursdays, 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Centers' Cheever House location, 828 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA. The programs are free and open to the public. Guests are invited to bring their lunches, WCW will provide tea and coffee. Many programs are recorded and audio files posted online at www.wcwonline.org/audioarchive. To confirm program line-up, call 781 283 2500 or visit www.wcwonline.org/calendar.

The Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College is one of the largest gender-focused research-and-action organizations in the world. Scholars at the Centers conduct social science research and evaluation, develop theory and publications, and implement training and action programs on issues that put women’s lives and women’s concerns at the center. Since 1974, WCW’s work has generated changes in attitudes, practices, and public policy.