The Role of Extended Family in Teen Sexual Health

Grossman, J. M.,
Tracy, A. J.,
Richer, A. M.,
Erkut, S.
Published: Electronically published in 2015
(a more recently published version of this article may be available)
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Journal of Adolescent Research

Extended family involvement in child rearing has increased, particularly in minority families. Yet few studies have investigated the role of extended family members in talking with teens about sex or how this relates to teens’ sexual behavior. In the current study, the authors assessed extended family sexuality communication through a survey of 1,492 racially and ethnically diverse, urban middle school students and interviews with 32 students. Results show that almost 60 percent of the teens talked with extended family members about sex. Teens who talked to extended family members only were more than twice as likely as those who talked to parents only to report having had sex. Interview themes explored the reasons why teens talked with extended family members about sexual issues as well as the topics they discussed with extended family. The authors suggest directions for future research and discuss the potential benefits of including the larger family system as a partner in sex education. Modified Author Abstract.

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