Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Health Education

First Advisor

Fetro,Joyce

Abstract

Among the plethora of changes that occur during the adolescent stage of life, individuals begin to gain a more thorough and profound understanding of the sexuality aspect of being. Parents and/or appropriate adult guardians have been shown to be indispensable in fostering the sexuality-related progression of their children. Part of helping young people understand human sexuality involves parents discussing sexuality-related issues with their children. While many studies have shown positive outcomes of parents discussing sexuality-related issues with their children, others have not been so optimistic. Further, these studies have not examined the role of parent-adolescent sexuality-based communication on an individual's overall sexual health. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between selected dimensions of communication and overall sexual health among selected undergraduate students at a large, mid-western university. A descriptive, cross-sectional, correlational design was employed for this study. A total of 425 undergraduate students completed a self-report instrument, assessing two communication dimensions (relationship satisfaction and communication style) and ten components/aspects of human sexuality (including overall sexual health). Cronbach alpha scores, conducted in previous studies as well as the current study, confirmed internal consistency reliability for all scales. Pearson product moment correlations and linear regression analyses showed no relationship or, at best, a minute relationship between selected communication variables and components of overall sexual health. Further, sexuality-based communication between parents and children was found to be low and parents were not found to be the primary resource of sexuality-related information. Recommendations for health educators are provided as well as recommendations for professional preparation.

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