Moms matter to teen girls considering sex
Posted on CNN.com September 4, 2002
Excerpts from the story:
- Teenage girls who have close relationships with their mothers wait longer to have sex for the first time
- Girls are less likely to have sex when their moms strongly disapprove
- Talking about birth control did not appear to have any effect on teens’ sexual behavior
The study is based on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a massive federal investigation of teen behavior. This research examined interviews with 2,006 teens ages 14-15 who said they were virgins. The same teens were interviewed a year later, and 10.8 percent of the boys and 15.8 percent of the girls had had sex by the second interview.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota examined extensive interviews with their mothers — fathers were not interviewed — to try to determine what made the difference between those who became sexually active and those who stayed virgins. Mothers whose daughters were still virgins shared several qualities:
- They strongly disapproved of their daughters having sex.
- They were satisfied with their relationship with their daughters.
- They frequently talked with the parents of their daughters’ friends.
- These mothers also more likely to have a college degree.
Other factors made no difference in teen sex, including how religious the mothers were, how often they talked about sex, how uncomfortable they were talking about sex and whether they recommended that their daughters use a specific kind of birth control.
When teens do realize that their mothers disapprove of sex, they are less likely to have it. In addition, younger teens are more likely to realize that their mothers’ disapprove when they feel close to their moms.
“Parents and especially mothers should be aware of the role they play in influencing their adolescent daughter’s sexual behaviors,” researchers concluded. “Parents need to be clear about their values and then clearly articulate them to their children and adolescents.”