Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Families influence community adolescents' sexual behavior, but little is known about families' might impact on incarcerated teens.
To examine incarcerated adolescents' family sexual health communication and it's association with sexual risk behaviors.
Adolescents from a juvenile correctional facility, participated in individual, semi-structured interviews about sexual education and sexual history. The data were analyzed to understand participants' family communication about sex and their sexual practices.
Thirty-eight adolescents (18 females, 20 males; 32% Hispanic, 68% non-Hispanic 24% Black, 24% Caucasian, 32% mixed race, 20% other/unknown race; Mean age = 16.8, SD = .96; age range 15 - 18) participated. Of 35 sexually experienced participants (16 females, 19 males), half the males (9/19) and two-thirds of females (10/16) reported discussions of sex with family. Frequent topics for males were the mechanics of sex and condom use; frequent topics for females were STIs and delaying sex. Nearly three-quarters of males (7/10) who reported no family sex communication did not use a condom at sexual debut and approximately half (4/9) who reported family sex communication did not use a condom at sexual debut. Ninety percent of males (9/10) who reported no family communication used substances during sex with their most recent partner, compared with only about half (4/9) of those who did report family communication. Among females, those who discussed sex with family were less likely to report a pregnancy than those who did not (20% (2/10) vs 83% (5/6). Around half of the males, regardless of family communication, reported having caused a pregnancy.
Communication appears to have a protective influence on males' condom use and substance use and on females' pregnancy history.
Providers should consider how family communication operates with each gender when designing STI intervention programs. This formative qualitative study should be followed-up with more extensive quantitative studies using larger samples.