This study has three primary goals. The first goal is to propose and test a new operationalization of family sexual communication. The second goal is to utilize this new measure to investigate how family sexual communication impacts adolescents’ and emerging adults’ sexual beliefs, sexual behaviors, sexual self efficacy, and sexual communication with their partner. The final goal of this study is to use Family Communication Patterns Theory to formulate predictions regarding how general family communication impacts sexual outcomes and test these predictions.
The new operationalization that is proposed is the Family Sexual Communication Scale. This scale consists of three subscales that measure the frequency, quality and content of family sexual communication. Through factor analysis, and reliability and validity testing, this measure demonstrated strong psychometric properties.
For the 326 participants in this study, family sexual communication was significantly associated with their sexual beliefs, sexual behavior, sexual self efficacy and sexual communication with their partner. Results from linear and logistic regression analyses demonstrate that the content of family sexual communication was the strongest and most consistent predictor of participants’ sexual beliefs and sexual behaviors whereas frequency and quality were predictive of sexual self efficacy and quality and content were predictive of sexual communication with a partner.
Family Communication Patterns Theory proved to be a useful theory to apply when investigating how general family communication impacts sexual outcomes. The predictions derived from the theory were all partially or fully supported, and the theory allows for interpretation and understanding of the relationships between the variables in this study. Participants from pluralistic and consensual families had higher levels of sexual self efficacy, partner sexual communication and safe sex than participants from protective and laissez faire families. Participants from laissez faire families had the lowest levels of sexual self efficacy and partner sexual communication while also having high rates of unprotected sex, group sex, and hook ups/one night stands.
Gender differences are examined as is the interaction between family communication patterns and family sexual communication.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2012. Major: Communication Studies. Advisor: Dr. Ascan Koerner. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 474 pages, appendices A-B.
Isaacs, Alyssa Marie.
Let’s talk about sex: how family communication patterns and family sexual communication impact adolescents’ and emerging adults’ sexual outcomes..
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