Barriers to mother‐adolescent communication about sex, maternal monitoring and sexual behaviour among adolescents in Mexico

Graciela Espinosa‐Hernández, Linda C. Halgunseth, Richard S. Pond, Julia C. Daugherty, Alissa R. Dark‐Freudeman
Published Online:
23 Dec 2020

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Mexican mothers have an important role in adolescent sexuality; however, they report multiple barriers to parent–child sex communication, which may impact adolescent sexual behaviour. This cross‐sectional study examines whether adolescent perceptions of maternal barriers to communication are associated with adolescent sexual behaviour frequency indirectly through its association with maternal monitoring, and whether these associations differ by age and gender. Mexican adolescents (N = 1433), ages 12–19 (53% girls), completed a survey on normative sexual behaviours, adolescent perceptions of maternal barriers to sex communication, and maternal monitoring. Structural equation modelling analyses revealed that more barriers to communication (adolescent perceptions) were associated with more sexual behaviour frequency (i.e., oral and vaginal sex) among Mexican adolescents indirectly through its association with maternal monitoring. Findings were stronger for adolescents in 8th grades, but no differences were found by gender. This model expands our understanding of the parenting factors that impact Mexican adolescent sexuality.

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