African American Parent–Son Sexual Communication Among a College Sample

Published:January 16, 2016DOI:


      • African American adolescent and young adult males face significant sexual health disparities including early sexual debut, greater sexual activity, and STIs/HIV than other racial groups.
      • Parent–child sexual communication has been shown to reduce adolescent and young adult male sexual activity and increase condom use.
      • African American mothers are more likely to engage in parent–child sexual communication with their sons than fathers.
      • African American fathers from suburban living areas were more likely to engage in parent–child sexual communication with their sons than urban fathers.
      • Parental educational level was not predictive of parent–child sexual communication among this sample.


      To investigate whether reports of parent–child sexual communication (PCSC) varied by parental gender, education and living environments among African American adolescent and young male students attending a historically black university (n = 146).

      Design and Methods

      Using secondary data a paired t-test was used to determine mean differences for PCSC by gender. Factorial ANOVA was calculated to examine the interaction between PCSC and living environment.


      Overall African American mothers were significantly more likely to engage in PCSC with their sons than African American fathers (t(68) = 4.143, p < 0.001). African American fathers from suburban areas were significantly more likely to engage in PCSC with their sons than urban fathers (t(137) = −2.295, p = 0.023). No significant difference in PCSC by parental educational level was found.


      Findings from this research suggest that African American mothers continue to be the primary conversant in PCSC with their sons. Additional research is needed to understand the role that living environment (urban vs. suburban) plays in the father PCSC process.

      Practice Implications

      PCSC can play an important role in reducing adolescent sexual risk behaviors. Nurses should encourage and support PCSC among African American parents and their adolescent and young adult sons.

      Key words

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