Researchers studying the sexual behaviour of adolescents in Wisconsin, USA, have stumbled on a great new insight — the importance of parents’ influence in restraining early sexual activity. Watching a lot of television, having low self esteem and not doing well at school all go together with having sex before the age of 15, but having a poor relationship with one’s parents also showed up as a risk factor for both girls and boys in the study. Living with a single mother or step-parent further raised the risk for girls.

Having three or more of these risk factors increases the odds of early sex considerably, and the researchers suggest that intervention programmes should target a combination of factors. But they also recommend that “preventive measures should not be left up to teachers and counsellors alone, but might include parents”. (Might!) They add that “positive influence from parents, coupled with comprehensive education programmes, have the potential to have an unsurpassed effect on early adolescent sexual activity”. ~ Science Daily, Nov 24


Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet