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J Sch Health. 2012 Feb;82(2):75-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2011.00669.x.

Sexual initiation, parent practices, and acculturation in Hispanic seventh graders.

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University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.



Hispanic youths have high rates of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancies, yet little research has targeted multiple protective/risk factors for early sexual initiation in this group. This study examined two main factors--parenting practices and acculturation--on early sexual initiation among Hispanic middle school students in Texas.


Using data from Hispanic seventh graders (N = 655) in 15 urban middle schools in southeast Texas, we examined the association between parental monitoring/parent-child communication about sexual health and sexual initiation.


After controlling for age, gender, parent/guardian education, family structure, acculturation level, and intervention status, the likelihood of ever having sex decreased 50% for every 1-point increase in the parental monitoring score (AOR = 0.50;95%CI = 0.34,0.75). No association was found between ever having sex and parent-child communication scores (AOR = 1.29;95%CI = 0.76,2.18). Furthermore, parental monitoring differed significantly between acculturation levels, 1-way analysis of variance F(2,652) = 5.07, p < 0.007. This finding was unrelated to the parental monitoring-initiation association in the multivariable model.


Parental monitoring may delay sexual initiation among Hispanic middle school students. Parental monitoring differs by acculturation levels, warranting further investigation. These findings can inform school-based, parent-involved interventions designed to delay sexual initiation among Hispanic youth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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