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Mothers’ Influence on Teenage Sexual Behavior: Connections That Promote Postponing Sexual Intercourse

November 22, 2002

The Center for Adolescent Health and Development at the University of Minnesota recently published a monograph examining mother-teen relationships to determine how mothers affect sexual behavior among teens who are not yet sexually active.

The monograph is based on two studies that utilized data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The two studies looked at over 5,000 adolescents and their mothers for one year. None of the teens reported having had sexual intercourse at the time of the initial interview.

Conclusions/Recommendations for Parents

Using the information from the two studies and from existing literature, the authors of the monograph developed the following conclusions and recommendations for parents.

Caring, connectedness, consistency, and clarity with teens are important -- especially for younger teens.*

*Connectedness was defined as adolescents’ feeling close to their mothers, knowing that their mothers cared for them, having open communication with their mothers, and feeling satisfied in their relationships with their mothers.

Parents need to involve themselves in their teens’ daily lives by knowing their friends and the parent of their friends.

To successfully provide guidance, parents need to be more aware of what is going on in their teens’ lives.

There are no simple answers for parents when it comes to talking with kids about birth control. Parents need to provide consistent messages, behaviors, and values.

Recommendations for Programs and Policies

The authors also made recommendations about how youth-serving organizations can assist parents in helping their teens delay sexual intercourse.

Simply encouraging parents to talk more with their teens about the risk of early sex without becoming more involved in their lives is unlikely to have much impact.

For More Information

  1. Blum, R.W., 2002, Mother's Influence on Teen Sex: Connections That Promote Postponing Sexual Intercourse. Center for Adolescent Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

This article was provided by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. It is a part of the publication SHOP Talk: School Health Opportunities and Progress Bulletin. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

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