Educating Parents in Workplace Improves Teen Sex Education

July 11, 2008

Parents who take part in a workplace-based education program aimed at helping them communicate with their adolescent children about sex are more likely to broach new topics, teach their children how to use a condom and report better lines of communication about sexual health, according to research published July 10 in BMJ Online First.

FRIDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Parents who take part in a workplace-based education program aimed at helping them communicate with their adolescent children about sex are more likely to broach new topics, teach their children how to use a condom and report better lines of communication about sexual health, according to research published July 10 in BMJ Online First.

Mark A. Schuster, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of 569 parents of adolescent children in 6th to 10th grade recruited from 13 worksites in southern California who were randomized to receive eight weekly one-hour Talking Parents, Healthy Teens sessions in their workplace, or assigned to a control group. The parents and their children were surveyed using questionnaires at one week, three months and nine months after the program.

Of the parents in the intervention group, only 8 percent were less likely to discuss new topics versus 29 percent in the control group, the researchers note. At the one-week follow-up point, 18 percent of the intervention group parents had reviewed proper condom use since baseline, compared with 3 percent for the control group.

"Compared with controls at nine months, parents and adolescents in the intervention group reported greater ability to communicate with each other about sex and more openness in communication about sex," the authors write.

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