Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gary Stoner

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore parental attitudes about adolescent sexual behavior among middle-income Black families. This study also examined the interactions between religion, parental attitudes about adolescent sexual behavior, and the frequency/quality of conversations regarding sexual topics. A total of 108 participants completed a survey via Qualtrics that examined these topics. Results found that parents generally have negative attitudes about adolescent sexual behavior. It was also found that parents discussed some topics more frequently than others and the quality of these conversations was neither overly negative nor positive. Results of stepwise multiple regression analyses indicated spirituality significantly predicted parental attitudes. Also, interviews were completed with seven participants. Participants were asked about the facilitators of and barriers to these conversations and from whom they would seek assistance in preparing to have such conversations.

Results indicated middle-income Black parents hold negative attitudes about adolescent sexual behavior. Spirituality was a significant predictor of parental attitudes towards adolescent sexual behavior. Parents reported they did not speak to their adolescents about sexual topics because they felt uncomfortable, their adolescent was too young, and the subject of adolescent sex was taboo. In contrast, participants stated that providing accurate information, protection from harm, and having an open relationship drove them to engage in these conversations with their adolescent. Lastly, results suggested that parents would seek assistance from a variety of professionals including health professionals, mental health professionals and the Internet. Implications for school professionals and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Available for download on Friday, August 13, 2021

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