Context: The relative effectiveness of interventions to improve parental communication with adolescents about sex is not known.
Objective: To compare the effectiveness and methodologic quality of interventions for improving parental communication with adolescents about sex.
Methods: We searched 6 databases: OVID/Medline, PsychInfo, ERIC, Cochrane Review, Communication and Mass Media, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. We included studies published between 1980 and July 2010 in peer-reviewed English-language journals that targeted US parents of adolescents aged 11 to 18 years, used an experimental or quasi-experimental design, included a control group, and had a pretest/posttest design. We abstracted data on multiple communication outcomes defined by the integrative conceptual model (communication frequency, content, skills, intentions, self-efficacy, perceived environmental barriers/facilitators, perceived social norms, attitudes, outcome expectations, knowledge, and beliefs). Methodologic quality was assessed using the 11-item methodologic quality score.
Results: Twelve studies met inclusion criteria. Compared with controls, parents who participated in these interventions experienced improvements in multiple communication domains including the frequency, quality, intentions, comfort, and self-efficacy for communicating. We noted no effects on parental attitudes toward communicating or the outcomes they expected to occur as a result of communicating. Four studies were of high quality, 7 were of medium quality, and 1 was of lower quality.
Conclusions: Our review was limited by the lack of standardized measures for assessing parental communication. Still, interventions for improving parent-adolescent sex communication are well designed and have some targeted effects. Wider dissemination could augment efforts by schools, clinicians, and health educators.
- Accepted December 2, 2010.
- Copyright © 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics