Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—November 30, 2015. Numerous medical associations advocate for increased parental involvement and monitoring to help reduce sexual risk behavior. In a meta-analysis in the December 2015 Pediatrics (published online Nov. 30), “Parental Monitoring and Its Associations with Adolescent Sexual Risk Behavior: a Meta-analysis,” researchers examined studies published in medical journals published in English between 1984 and 2014 to determine the association between parental monitoring and adolescent sexual intercourse, condom use, and contraceptive use.
Across studies, parental monitoring was associated with reduced adolescent sexual risk behavior, including delayed initiation of sex, and increased condom and contraceptive use. Protective monitoring effects were found to be robust for different adolescents, including boys and girls, older and younger adolescents, and sexually experienced adolescents as well as those who are not yet sexually experienced. Both forms of parental monitoring (i.e., parents’ knowledge of their adolescents’ companions, whereabouts, and activities), and more specific forms of monitoring through the enforcement of family rules about time spent with friends and dating partners, can help protect adolescents from engaging in sexual risk behavior. General monitoring behaviors may be a proxy for a parenting style characterized by greater parental involvement and better quality relationships, whereas family rule enforcement is more about limiting opportunities for engaging in risk behaviors. Parents trust health care providers and look to them for advice and guidance about their children’s health and well-being.
According to the study authors, providers should see this as an opportunity to take an active role in engaging parents on behalf of their adolescent patients. One way to do this is by supporting parents in their monitoring and supervision efforts with their adolescents. This is especially important for parents of adolescents who tend to pull back from their monitoring efforts as their children grow older.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org or follow us at @AmerAcadPeds.