A Parent-Based Intervention to Reduce Sexual Risk Behavior in Early Adolescence: Building Alliances Between Physicians, Social Workers and Parents

The current study evaluated the efficacy of a parent-based sexual risk reduction intervention targeting young Latinos and African Americans in New York City. Mothers received the program while waiting for their adolescent child to complete an annual physical examination.

The randomized controlled trial involved 264 mother-adolescent dyads. Adolescents were study-eligible only if they were African American or Latino and ages 11-14, inclusive. Dyads completed a short baseline survey and then were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: (1) a parent-based intervention (n=133), or (2) a "standard care" control group (n=131). Nine-month follow-up assessed outcomes, including whether the adolescent had ever engaged in vaginal intercourse, the frequency of sexual intercourse, and oral sex frequency.

"Relative to the control group, statistically significant reduced rates of transitioning to sexual activity and frequency of sexual intercourse were observed, with oral sex reductions nearly reaching statistical significance (p<.054). Specifically, sexual activity increased from 6 percent to 22 percent for young adults in the 'standard of care' control condition, although it remained at 6 percent among young adults in the intervention condition at the nine-month follow-up," the study's results showed.

A parent-based intervention involving mothers waiting for their child at a pediatric clinic "may be an effective way to reduce sexual risk behaviors among Latino and Africa-American middle-school young adults," the investigators concluded.