Year Published: 2019
Authors: Jennifer M. Grossman, Ph.D., Lynch, A.D., Amanda M. Richer, M.A, Lisette M. DeSouza, Ph.D., & Ineke Ceder, BA
Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Research shows that family communication about sexuality can protect against teens' risky sexual behavior. However, few studies assess talk with extended family about sex or how this communication relates to teens' sexual behavior. The current study includes cross-sectional survey data from 952 adolescents. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to assess associations between teens' sexual risk behaviors and communication with extended family about protection methods, risks of sex and relational approaches to sex, defined as talk about sex within a close relationship. For sexually active teens, talk about protection methods was associated with fewer sexual partners and talk about risks of sex was associated with more sexual partners regardless of teen gender and the generation of extended family with whom teens talk. Results suggest that extended-family talk about sex may influence teens' sexual behavior independent of effects of teen⁻parent communication. However, the direction of the effect depends on the content of the conversations. These findings suggest the need to explore whether and how extended family could be included in health prevention and intervention programs, because programs which include family largely focus on parents.

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