Although mothers are widely acknowledged as the primary in-home sexual educators of children, fathers also play an important role in sexual socializa- tion. Paternal involvement is linked to positive social and psychological out- comes; an increased father—daughter communication can delay sexual debut and decrease frequency of engagement in intercourse. Four open-ended questions were included in a larger study examining family influences of adolescent sexual risk.
Daughters described how their fathers prepared them for sexuality and dating and how they could have done better. A thematic content analysis was conducted. Most daughters reported receiving little sexual information from their fathers but identified unique contributions that their fathers made or could have made to their sexual socialization. Attention to family structural characteristics has waned as the focus on family and parenting processes has grown. Although mother—daughter communication has received a fair amount of attention, few published studies have examined the role of fathers in sexual risk communication with their daughters.
Mothers are widely acknowledged as the primary in-home sexual educators of children Dilorio, Kelley, Hockenberry-Eaton, ; Dilorio et al. In general, adolescents report greater amounts of sexual risk communication with mothers than fathers; mother—adolescent sexual risk communication occurs more fre- quently and with greater comfort, encompassing a wider range of topics Dilorio et al.
Female adolescents, in particular, are much more likely to receive sexual commu- nication from mothers than fathers Dilorio et al. Mother—teen sexual communication has been linked to a later onset of sexual activity, less sexual risk taking, and a more consistent use of condoms and other contraceptives among adolescents Crosby et al.
Few studies have examined the influence of fathers in the sexual socializa- tion and education of children, particularly daughters. Those studies that have examined father—daughter sexual communication have been found to have low levels of informational exchange. They suggested that fathers, if supported, may be better able to prepare their daughters in healthy decision making around sexuality. Bowling and Werner-Wilson found that responsible sexual behavior among adolescent females was associated with positive father—daughter communication regarding men, dating, sex, and marriage.
However, positive communication might be limited by the level of openness between fathers and daughters. Although fathers have often been left out of studies of parent—teen sexual communication and have been found to have lower rates of sexual communi- cation and openness than mothers in other studies, father involvement, relation- ship quality, and communication have been shown to have crucial benefits for adolescent girls. In contrast, father absence has been linked to higher rates of sexual activity and teen pregnancy Ellis et al.
The quality of the father— daughter relationship has also been associated with adolescent risk behaviors. An increased communication between fathers and daughters has been asso- ciated with an increased relationship satisfaction, which has, in turn, been linked to less rebellion against family rules Punyanunt-Carter, Overall, studies that have examined sexual communication between fathers and daughter have found lower levels of informational sexual communication between fathers and d.