Objective: To examine to what extent adolescents’ beliefs, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control predict the amount of parent–adolescent communication about sexuality. In addition, the role of adolescents’ gender, ethnic background, religiosity and educational level on these relationships was assessed as well.
Methods: Data were collected from 481 students of four high schools in The Netherlands. A questionnaire assessed adolescents’ beliefs, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and self-reported parent–adolescent communication about sexuality. Linear regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of parent–adolescent communication. To assess differences between subgroups, χ2-analyses, t-tests and analyses of variance were conducted.
Results: Being female and having positive beliefs about talking with parents about sexuality were positively related to amount of parent–adolescent communication. In addition, adolescents’ perceived behavioral control and subjective norm were significant predictors as well.
Conclusion: Adolescents’ beliefs, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control, are all significant predictors of frequency of parent–adolescent sex communication, with beliefs being the most important. In addition, adolescents’ gender predicted a significant amount as well.
Practice implications: Interventions aimed to increase the amount of parent–adolescent communication should primarily target their efforts to changing adolescents’ underlying beliefs about discussing sexuality with their parents. Our results furthermore suggest that it is important to take into consideration gender variations in these beliefs, by designing separate interventions for different groups of adolescents.