Education: Bachelor of Science in human development and family science and psychology (May 2020)
Currently pursuing a Master of Social Work from Washburn University
McNair Project: Parent and teen perspectives on parent-child sexual communication (2019)
Mentor: Amber Vennum, Ph.D.
Parent-child sex communication is the communication between parents (or parent figures) and their children about sex-related issues including sex, sexuality, and sexual health outcomes. The sexual health of most adolescents and young adults is greatly influenced by the powerful role that parents play in children’s sexual socialization; the messages conveyed are influential in shaping adolescent sexual decision-making (DiIorio, Pluhar & Belcher, 2003). The purpose of this study was to gather and analyze responses from parents and adolescents about their sexual communication and identify any trends in the language that was used during the interviews to help better improve their conversations about sex and sexual topics. Total participants included four parents/caregivers and six adolescents. Participants were interviewed individually using an original semi-structured interview protocol. For both parents and adolescents, interview questions focused on parent-child sexual communication (PCSC) topics, comfort levels, prompts, barriers, judgments of good vs. bad PCSC, and suggestions for improvement of PCSC. Each interview was audio-recorded and transcribed via a third-party transcription service. From the adolescent interviews, some of the major themes that emerged included: comfort level, frequency of conversations, things they wished they learned from their parents, evaluation of PCSC, and advice for their parents. From the parent interviews, some of the major themes that emerged included: PCSC in the family of origin, family of origin influences on current PCSC, feedback from their children, and questions they want their children to ask.