Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development


Sandra L. Caron

Second Committee Member

Mary Madden

Third Committee Member

Phillip Pratt


The purpose of this study was to determine if there is in fact any relationship between the amount of interaction and influence parents have with their children, and their children's later sexual behavior and attitudes. This study analyzed data collected from students enrolled in a human sexuality class from 1990 to 2002. Results of the study show that clearly parents and children are not talking about sex very frequently. In all the years studied, the majority of the students said that they never asked their mother or father a question about sex. While few significant differences in sexuality attitudes and behaviors were found between males who often asked their parents questions about sex and those who never did, many significant differences were found for females. In addition, when comparing those who said their parents were their most important influences, females (not males) were found to have significant differences on nearly all the sexual attitude and behavior questions. In other words, when females said that their parents were their most important influence, they were more likely to engage in responsible sexual behavior. This is supported by findings that parent-child communication is linked with more responsible patterns of sexual behavior of the child. Limitations and implications are discussed.