Mother-daughter communication about sex among urban African American and Latino families

Lucia F. O'Sullivan, Heino F L Meyer-Bahlburg, Beverly X. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Urban minority girls are at considerable risk for the negative health consequences of early sexual activity. Yet few researchers have explored the sources of information about sexual issues for these adolescents, particularly parent-child communication. As part of a larger qualitative study examining social cognitions about sexuality among urban girls, 72 African American and Latina mothers and 72 daughters representing two age groups (6-9 and 10-13) participated in focus group sessions. Both mothers and daughters addressed the cues associated with the timing of these conversations in the course of the daughters' development; the content of their conversations, including the messages mothers used to influence girls' decision making; and the approaches or strategies both employed. The authors' analyses indicate that beneficial communication may be pre-empted by the antagonistic positions adopted by daughters and mothers as daughters advance sexually. Daughters may in fact benefit more from receiving sex education from other close sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-292
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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