Ukuku, Afekwo Mary
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African American adolescents are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections. Positive familial factors such as consistent parental discipline, parental support, parental monitoring, and religious/spiritual beliefs have been found to influence adolescents’ sexual behavior. This study examined the influence of parenting processes, religiosity, and spirituality on adolescents’ sexual behaviors. This mixed-method study consisted of two phases. In Phase 1, parents (n=75) and their adolescents (n=22) completed a survey measuring the study constructs. Participants were recruited from a major southeastern inner city. Bivariate analysis was performed to explore associations between parenting factors and behavioral outcomes. In phase 2, seven dyadic pairs (parents and adolescents) from the sample participated on one-on-one interviews. Bivariate analyses were used to identify significant associations between parenting factors, religious, and spirituality and sexual behavior outcomes. In addition, structured open coding was conducted to examined the value that adolescent placed on their family relationships and the influence of parents on sexual behavior. Findings showed that parental perspective on adolescent sexual behavior is influenced by consistent discipline, increased parental support, and parental spirituality. Only half of the parents correctly identified their adolescents’ sexual behaviors. The results of this study expanded the understanding of determinants of positive parent-adolescent interactions and the contextual nature of the interactions as protective factors against sexual behaviors. Future studies should continue to investigate the importance of the parent-child relationship. In addition, interventions should find ways to integrate the entire family members, outside of mothers, to the sexual health education process.