Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Freedom’s Just Another Word For Less Sexually Active Teens

Date:
July 25, 2008
Source:
Center for the Advancement of Health
Summary:
Rigid parenting appears to be linked to increased sexual activity in older teens. More than two of every three American teens has sexual intercourse before age 19. Although it is difficult to confirm that controlling mothers and fathers cause kids to have more sex, the findings suggest it is wise to give children freedom.

Sophisticated statistical research is providing more evidence of a link between rigid parenting and increased sexual activity in older teens.

Although it is difficult to confirm that controlling mothers and fathers cause kids to have more sex, the findings suggest it is wise to give children freedom, said Rebekah Levine Coley, lead author of a new study of nearly 5,000 U.S. teenagers. Coley is an associate professor of applied developmental and educational psychology at Boston College.

“Warm, more democratic relationships — in which parents do not use negative and psychologically controlling behaviors — could help parents to communicate values, increase adolescents’ identification with their parents, help youth to develop healthy decision-making skills and also keep youth away from negative peer influences,” Coley said.

According to the researchers, more than two of every three American teens has sexual intercourse before age 19.

Researchers have previously studied how family life affects teens, but the findings were “suggestive but not definitive” and did not reveal which techniques work the best, Coley said.

In the new study, Coley and colleagues examined the results of an annual survey of American teens born between 1980 and 1984. The researchers looked at the survey results for 4,980 teens and used a number of statistical techniques to try to pinpoint the effects of various parenting styles.

Regular family activities — “things like eating dinner together as a family or engaging in fun activities or religious activities together” — seemed to make sexual activity less likely, Coley said.

Children also seemed to be less sexually active if their parents did not engage in “negative and psychologically controlling behaviors.”

However, the research did not confirm a direct cause-and-effect relationship between parenting styles and teen sexual activity. Researchers would be unable to find such a relationship unless they randomly assigned different families to raise children, Coley said.

The new study offers a “simple and clear message” about the importance of parenting, said Don Operario, a professor at Oxford University in England. Operario studies health and social issues.

While some recent research has focused on how the media and peers affect the sex lives of adolescents, he said, this study “reminds us of the foundational role of parents in determining whether their teens engage in risky sexual behaviors.”

What should parents do? “This research is not necessarily saying to parents: ‘Go and talk to your teens about sex and counsel them on condom use, pregnancy, HIV and delaying sex,’” Operario said. “It is saying: ‘Support your teens, spend time with them, be less critical and controlling and more nurturing in their adolescent development. This, in turn, can help them make more informed, safe decisions about sexual activity.’”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center for the Advancement of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Coley et al. Using Sibling Differences to Estimate Effects of Parenting on Adolescent Sexual Risk Behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 2008; 43 (2): 133 DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.12.012

Cite This Page:

Center for the Advancement of Health. "Freedom’s Just Another Word For Less Sexually Active Teens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723192009.htm>.
Center for the Advancement of Health. (2008, July 25). Freedom’s Just Another Word For Less Sexually Active Teens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723192009.htm
Center for the Advancement of Health. "Freedom’s Just Another Word For Less Sexually Active Teens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723192009.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins