“Say something instead of nothing”: Adolescents’ perceptions of memorable conversations about sex-related topics with their parents

Amanda Holman, Jody Koenig Kellas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


This study examined adolescents’ (n = 389) perceptions of parent–adolescent communication about sex, including what their parents say about sex, what types of conversations adolescents report as memorable, the degree to which messages are perceived as effective, and how parental messages predict adolescents’ sexual attitudes and behaviors. Six conversation types emerged: underdeveloped, safety, comprehensive talk, warning/threat, wait, and no talk. When adolescents were asked to report how those could have been improved, five types emerged from the analysis of their responses: no change, be more specific/provide guidance, talk to me, appropriateness, and collaborate. Comprehensive talk and safety were perceived as significantly more effective than all other types of conversations. Safety conversations predicted the lowest levels of permissive sexual attitudes and risk-taking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Monographs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 23 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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