Does Parental Involvement Predict New Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Female Adolescents?

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Abstract

Background

African American female adolescents living in low-income urban areas are at increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

Objective

To determine if high levels of perceived parental supervision and communication were associated with reduced gonorrhea (GC) and chlamydia (CT) incidence in low-income, African American, sexually experienced female adolescents, aged 14 to 19 years, attending urban health clinics.

Design

A prospective cohort study was used to determine the predictive value for high levels of parental supervision and communication on GC and CT infection in 158 adolescent females. Multiple logistic regression analysis explored the association between incident infection and perceived parental supervision and perceived parental communication while controlling for relevant demographic and behavioral factors (age, religious involvement, school enrollment, a 2-parent household, having a main sex partner, and having concurrent sex partners).

Results

When adjusted for age and baseline GC and CT infection, high levels of perceived parental supervision were associated with reduced GC and CT incidence (adjusted odds ratio, 0.06; 95% confidence interval, 0.01–0.31). High levels of perceived parental communication were not associated with reduced GC and CT incidence (adjusted odds ratio, 0.55; 95% confidence interval, 0.21–1.42).

Conclusions

The link between parental supervision and disease acquisition is particularly valuable because it provides evidence that parental supervision can result in lower sexually transmitted disease rates in urban high-prevalence populations. This is important for interventions designed to increase parental involvement as a strategy for promoting protective sexual behaviors in female adolescents because it indicates that increased parental involvement can also influence subsequent disease acquisition.

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