Attitudes, Norms, and the Effect of Social Connectedness on Adolescent Sexual Risk Intention

Julie A. Cederbaum, Aubrey J. Rodriguez, Kathrine Sullivan, Kandice Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Risky sexual behaviors put adolescents at increased risk of adverse outcomes. Parents, school-based adults, and peers play important roles in influencing these sex intentions. METHODS: This work explored the influence of parent-child sex communication on adolescent attitudes, perceived norms, and intentions to have sex, including the moderating role of social support from school-based adults, in a sample of 21,731 adolescents in California. RESULTS: Although increased parent-child sex communication was associated with intentions to have sex, it also exhibited protective effects, increasing abstinence attitudes among youth that led to decreased intention directly and via support from school-based adults. CONCLUSIONS: Although many factors influencing sexual behaviors are largely intrapersonal, these findings indicate the importance of an ecological approach to reducing adolescent sexual risk behaviors through engagement of parents and increased school connectedness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-583
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • parent-child sexual risk communication
  • school-based adult connectedness
  • sex intentions
  • theory of reasoned action

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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