Date of Award

Summer 6-30-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Lawrence R. Frey

Second Advisor

Matthew Koschmann

Third Advisor

Cindy White

Abstract

Communication between parents and their children about sex is tremendously important for children as they enter adolescence and adulthood, and, eventually, become sexually active; consequently, parents need to be willing and feel comfortable having those conversations with their children. To engage in those conversations and to achieve their desired results, such as delaying sexual onset and discouraging sexual risk taking, parents need both appropriate knowledge and encouragement, which suggest the need for intervention. This study assessed the before-and-after effects of the Parenting Safe Children Workshop on parents’ comfort and willingness to engage in conversations with their children about sex. Results of this study showed that the workshop increased parents’ (especially fathers’) comfort and willingness to discuss with their children a variety of sex-related topics, and that particular pedagogical delivery methods (specifically, instructor-focused vs. interactive methods) significantly affected parents’ increased comfort. These results are discussed with regard to their implications for this and other workshops that are designed to increase the amount and quality of parents’ communication with their children about sex.

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