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Parent-Child Perceptions: Sexual Discussions Dissertation


Introduction

The social work profession presents an opportunity to contemplate, learn, touch, and transform society with social services. There have been increased incidences of young people engaging in risky activities that are detrimental to their health and well-being (Cobb-Clark, Ryan, & Sartbayeva, 2012). This can be attributed to parents not engaging their children in conversations that help them acquire positive attitudes about themselves. A core issue, apart from drug and substance abuse among other risky behaviors, is sexual activity. Various problems are associated with unsafe sex that includes teenage pregnancies, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases (Golin et al. 2012). Ironically, adults want their children to be aware of issues, such as preventing the problems associated with unsafe sex, but they still see it as a challenge to communicate to them about sex (Nikken & de Graaf, 2013). Adequate communication about sex is vital for young people, and it helps them to develop the ability to have their values and enable them to make the right decisions. Hence, parents should embrace the communication of safe sex topics as an opportunity and not view it as a challenge.

It is important to note that indeed there are parents who engage their teenage daughters and sons on the issue of safe sex. Parents engage their sons and daughters differently in problems relating to unsafe sex. They discuss the risks associated with having unsafe sex such as teenage pregnancies that make them parents at an early age before they even get ready for the same. Some of the adverse impacts associated with early pregnancies include dropping out of school, and this affects one’s career objectives and future economic status. The parents advise their children on the advantages of having safe sexual intercourse, especially in this era where the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections is very high (Pippard & Bjorklund, 2003). They also discuss with the teenagers about the actions they should take in case they have had unsafe sex such as seeking medical attention to be screened for any sexually transmitted diseases (Office of Adolescent Health, 2015). Various myths exist in support of unsafe sex such as increased pleasure, and the parents have to demystify the myths by persuading the teenagers on safe sex with arguments such as reduced health risks.

In their study, Guilamo-Ramos et al. (2006) investigated how the different ethnic groups in the United States discussed sex and found out that Latino parents were less likely to engage in such discussions. This is contrary to parents from other ethnic groups, such as whites, who engage their children more than Latino parents in such vital dialogues. Notably, there is a need for uniformity among all parents where they all have discussions with their teenage children regardless of race or location. The issue of unsafe sex affects all the teenagers despite their race thus the failure by Latino parents to mention the issue of unsafe sex openly with their children has a long-term negative impact on the community. The current study aims to investigate parent-teenage communication factors that obstruct and facilitate family discussions about safe sex among Latinos to address the factors that hinder parents from openly engaging in sexual discussions.

Background

Teen pregnancy is not a new phenomenon in the USA. Teen pregnancy refers to the situation where adolescents bear children either within or outside wedlock. Parenting at any age can be challenging, but it can be particularly hard for young parents (Office of Adolescent Health, 2015). The statistics about teen pregnancy in the United States of America have been arrived at after extensive research by both government agencies and non-governmental agencies. The figure has however been on a constant decline over the last 20 years. However, the USA still holds the highest rate of teen pregnancy among developed nations. In 2013 for every 1000 adolescents (15-19 years), there were 26.6 births (Office of Adolescent Health, 2015). Teenagers that have sex out of ignorance may be the result of high rates of teen pregnancies. Enlightening teenagers on the risks of unsafe sex is crucial in enhancing the social development of society.

Teen pregnancy has been in existence for a long period, and the government has done a lot to reduce or eliminate the problem. There are various intervention approaches, such as peer counseling, use of contraceptives, and seeking medical attention after one engages in unsafe sex (Ohmer & Korr, 2006). Also, parent communication strategies can be used to enhance safe sex among teenagers, especially Latinos. The communication about safe sex with young people is important in protecting them from the adverse impacts of unsafe sex (Ohmer & Korr, 2006). However, Latino parents are less likely to discuss sexual issues with their teenage children due to the social construction associated with sex. Raffaelli and Green (2003) argue that most teenage pregnancies among Latina girls are related to the fact that they have very minimal communications about sex as compared to those who do not have teenage pregnancies. This implies that there are still some interventions such as the use of emergency contraceptives that teenagers who have had unsafe sex can use.

There are actions that social workers and parents can use to enhance sex education among teenagers, especially about unsafe sex. Some of these interventions include setting up testing and counseling sessions for HIV and other STDs and holding seminars on the dangers of unsafe sex. Some teenagers may not know the right action they should take after having unsafe sex thus it is important for parents to discuss these interventions with the teenagers openly. Young people need to look out for symptoms such as sores, unusual bleeding, and discharge, and rashes, as they may be a sign of sexually transmitted illness, contracted during unsafe sex. For teenage girls, one can have the IUD implanted even five days after having unprotected sex to prevent unwanted pregnancy (Raffaelli & Green, 2003). The other intervention is taking emergency contraceptives. Having unsafe sex with persons of the same gender is also a risky behavior that can transmit illnesses such as hepatitis C but can be prevented by an intervention such as avoiding the use of the same sex toys. Parents who are unable to communicate to their children openly about the importance of having safe sex may use other interventions such as buying them books and magazines on safe sex.

Statement of the Problem

How parents may educate Latino teenagers with the use of such new technologies as social media and mobile apps still has not been studied, and there is a need for future research.

Unsafe sex is an issue among teenagers, not only in the United States but also across the globe. Studies have indicated that a high number of teenagers who face the adverse impacts of unsafe sex do not communicate with their parents about sex. The majority of teenagers who are likely to engage in unsafe sex have little or no communication at all with their relatives. In their research on parental communication about sex Raffaelli, and Green (2003) argue that parents who talk openly about sex with their children worry less about the likelihood of facing the negative impacts of unsafe sex such as infections. The consequences of having unsafe sex can be reduced by educating teenagers about the risks associated with the act, but it is not easy for all parents. Communication between parents and their teenagers is hindered by the lack of openness between the two parties, but this only leads more teenagers into the risks that result from unsafe sex such as early pregnancies. Unlike White parents in the United States, Latino parents appear to be unable to discuss issues of sex openly with their teenage children. This is a threat to the social development of the community, bearing in mind that Latino teenagers are not different from the others. This implies that they will still engage in risky sexual behaviors that threaten their social development and health. Latino parents understand the importance of educating teenagers on the dangers of unsafe sex, yet they are unable to discuss the same. Identifying the factors that make it hard for Latino parents to discuss the issue of unsafe sex with their teenagers will help in solving the problem.

Proposed Study

The overall purpose of this study is to explore graduate student’s retrospective accounts of sexual dialogue with their parents. This study will sample Master of Social Work (MSW) students at California State University of Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) to examine their perceptions of safe sex communication with their parents as adolescents. This study also aims to identify what factors facilitate or hinder open communication between parents and their children. The presence of the barrier to communication between parents and teenagers has led to unawareness among young people, and this leads to a host of problems associated with unsafe sex (Raffaelli, & Green, 2003).

Such tools of analysis as surveys will be used in this study to determine aspects that would help to establish communication between teenagers and their parents. Differently put, it will be focused on internal and external factors that affect conversations about safe sex.

Research Design

The study will utilize a mixed methods research design. A survey questionnaire will be developed and administered to the selected sample of MSW students. The survey methodology appears to be the most appropriate for this research, as it allows collecting a broad range of data and gives extensive flexibility in data analysis due to the unlimited number of questions that can be asked. The nature of the question used in the survey will be open-ended to gather adequate information on the possible reasons that may hinder the Latino parents from discussing sexual issues openly with their teenage boys and girls. The analysis will be done qualitatively using thematic analysis.

This study will explore open communication about sex amongst Latinos. More specifically, this study will explore graduate students’ retrospective accounts of sexual discussions with their parents. A primary aim of the study is to identify how open discussion about sex may reduce pregnancies and STDs among Latino/teens. MSW students will be asked to provide their accounts and experiences of parent-based sexual communication, or lack of, on various open-ended survey questions. This study will utilize a mixed methods research design to ascertain the perceptions of sexual communication among Latino young adults.

Theoretical Framework

The proposed study will use Critical Race Theory (CRT) as well as Assets and Social Development Theory to having a better understanding of sexual communication between parents and teenagers. This section will provide a discussion regarding the theoretical focus of the current study.

Critical race theory

CRT is a framework for investigating racial disparities by promoting a critical analysis of racism by examining various life factors. The critical race theory seeks to examine the inequities between the dominant groups and the marginalized groups that affect the state of the population in marginalized settings (Delgado & Stefancic, 2012). Although the CRT theory has predominantly been used in matters of law, it is increasingly being employed in areas such as sociological and educational research (Hylton, 2012). The theory strives to achieve equality between the races believing that the gains of the American society are disproportionately shared among the various ethnic groups in the country.

In this case, the Latinos are seen as the marginalized group because the teenagers in this race do not benefit from sex education as the rest of the population. The Latino teenagers marginalize in society since they are more vulnerable to teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections that result from unprotected sex. By using critical theory, it is possible to examine the factors that make Latino parents unable to approach the issue of sex education with their teenage sons and daughters. The techniques proposed by the critical race theory help bridge the gap between the white and Latino race by facilitating the identification of factors that hinder Latino parents from discussing sexual topics openly with their teenagers. CRT recognizes the existence of racism and its consequences against those who are treated as unequal. The theory will be applied to identify the factors that hinder Latino parents from discussing sexual issues with their children as well as the factors that make the white race more open with their teenagers on the same.

Intervention theory

Assets and Social Development is the intervention theory used in this study because it enhances the understanding of a community regarding the way it functions (settings (Delgado & Stefancic, 2012). According to this theory, the development of society is the result of its capacity to manage the resources to overcome challenges and use opportunities. This helps understand the values that govern behavior within a society. In this case, the theory is useful in explaining the cultural and religious factors that the Latino parents may use to enhance the openness in communication with their teenage sons and daughters. Asset-based social development is related to the concept of empowerment, suggests that the key to finding solutions to the problems faced by the society lies in the already existing community assets. The current study aims to identify the many assets that the Latino community could use to promote education about safe sex among teenagers.

The usage of social development theory can be applied to the issue of family sexual education as well. The assets-based approach helps to suggest the potential steps necessary for overcoming teen pregnancies and unsafe sex with the help of already existing social asset – family units. Unsafe sex among teenagers may be solved by having the parents and guardians advise their children on the adverse consequences of unprotected sex. Parents, guardians, and other members of the community have a responsibility of ensuring that the teenagers are not affected by the unfavorable impacts of unsafe sex such as disruption of education. Education is one of the aspects that promote social development in a community therefore should be popularized among teenagers. The asset and social development theory can be efficient to understand social development better. The theory holds that the potential and strengths within the community are the assets that can be used to enhance social development (Pippard & Bjorklund, 2003).

The development of Latino society can be achieved by identifying the potential that the teenagers have and encouraging them to work towards achieving the best in society by avoiding unsafe sex. The community should take the initiative to educate Latino teens about the dangers of having unsafe sex in one’s life such as contracting incurable diseases. By doing this, the community can tap and develop the skills of teenagers for the development of the entire community. A study carried out by Ohmer & Korr (2006), proves that it is possible to develop a community through implementing appropriate interventions such as enlightening the society on the factors that affect their development. This implies that it is possible to achieve sustainable development among Latino people by educating teenagers about the dangers of unsafe sex.

Significance of the Study

The study will go a long way in informing practitioners in dealing with issues of sex among the teenage population of Latinos. The study is a survey that explores Master of Social Work (MSW) students at California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) and will focus on the sexual communication Latinos/a received as adolescents by comparing their responses to the survey with the answers by other ethnic/racial groups. This will help inform Latino parents to confront the awkwardness and the shame they might have had during the process and impact positive attitudes and behavior. This study is a stepping stone to promote awareness of the importance of sex education and to lower the increasing concern about national teen pregnancy rates among Latinos.

Conclusion

The unfavorable impacts of unsafe sex necessitate the concern for educating teenagers on the advantages of having safe sex. There are interventions that parents can use to protect teenage children from the adverse impacts of unsafe sex. The interventions include providing them with books that discuss the effects of unsafe sex and as well as the advantages of engaging in safe sex. There are also helpful interventions that can be used to protect against the adverse impacts of engaging in sex without using protection. Among the interventions that teenagers can take after having unsafe sex include seeking medical attention, especially if they experience symptoms such as sores, rashes, and unusual bleeding. An early pregnancy among teenagers is among the adverse impacts of unprotected sex, but it can be prevented by taking emergency contraceptive pills and IUD soon after the unprotected sex. The primary issue in unprotected sex is the prevention of the same but even if it has occurred, but some interventions can be taken to ensure it does not occur again.

Literature Review

Sexual awakening begins in adolescence. Approximately four out of ten 9th graders have experienced sex and nearly seven out of ten have had sex by the time they reach the 12th grade. Yearly, an estimated three million teens contract sexually transmitted diseases. According to recent research, a total of 798 parent-teenagers who had had sex were assessed (Hadley et al., 2008). Out of the 798, 485 teens disclosed they had either vaginal or anal sex. With such statistics, the question that begs to be answered is whether parents are talking to their children about safe sex. Much work remains to be done to reduce teenage sex, particularly among the Latino community. Consequently, it is crucial to not only explore the barriers to safe sex among young Latinos but also examine how parent-child communication can be improved in the community.

This chapter will discuss the major factors that the social workers can address in trying to enhance open communication about sex, especially among the Latino parents and their teenagers. It will highlight the critical aspects that lead teenagers to engage in unsafe sex, with or without the necessary knowledge.

Barriers to Safe Sex among Latino Adolescents

Considered to be one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations in America, 40.9% of Latinos are arguably under 21 years of age. This means that the Latino population is set to grow at a very fast rate given that the youthful population would start reproducing and giving birth once they become sexually active. With estimates showing that 51% of Latinas get pregnant at least once before they celebrate their 20th birthday, teens are considered to have the highest birth rates in comparison to any other minority group or population. The following section describes some of the barriers to safe sex that contribute to higher teen pregnancy rates among Latino youth.

Poverty and Lack of Healthcare

The study by Cobb-Clark et al. (2012) has shown that individuals that have grown up in poor families are inclined to participate in risky activities. It is known that such individuals are much more likely to try alcohol or drugs, and the risks of unsafe sex are much higher when under the influence. Another issue that needs to be discussed is that poverty frequently leads to a lack of education, and teens do not get the necessary information from trained professionals. The lack of healthcare is also incredibly problematic because an enormous percentage of sexually transmitted diseases are not promptly diagnosed, and it leads to severe consequences. It is also necessary to mention that some individuals may intentionally participate in unsafe sex because they think that birth control is too expensive. Another study has shown that females from families that are poor are more likely to be sexually active at a young age (Dinkelman, Lam, & Liebbrandt, 2008). It is also mentioned that teenagers that have to deal with financial crises have many sexual partners most of the time, and it is extremely problematic because the risk of being affected by an STD is increased significantly. One of the studies has shown that young fathers are frequently regarded as offenders (Wei, Loeber, & Stouthamer‐Loeber, 2002). The problem is that such individuals are not ready to have children, and it results in poor parenting.

Also, 20 percent of the general Latino population live below the poverty line with lacking health services in their neighborhoods. The issue of unsafe sex among teenagers is likely to increase hardship even higher. This is because unsafe sex denies teenagers some of the basic needs that may shape their future economic life such as education. Through education, one is likely to secure well-paying jobs, and they are also able to promote development initiatives in the region such as supporting the less fortunate with school fees.

However, other racial populations suffer from poverty; it is important to understand the Latino culture to recognize why safe sex faces a lot of barriers. Most teen women from the Latino population are faced with cultural norms, poverty, inadequate health care, and discrimination because society is well-grounded.

In the American health system, Latinas are one of the most under-served groups when it comes to healthcare. According to the 2000 Census, close to 33 percent of Latinas lacked medical insurance compared to 19 percent of Africa-Americans (Hetherington, Burleson & Militello, 2015). This paves a way for a lack of healthcare knowledge among the population making them vulnerable to all sought of diseases and sexually transmitted illnesses.

Cultural Beliefs

The Latino culture is a phenomenon in the community as it involves how people behave and think about issues affecting them. Notably, the Latino culture promotes machismo in a way that predisposes females to be subjugated. Machismo defines masculinity as an ability to seduce a woman, and therefore, praises frequent sexual relations with different partners. The Catholic Church is among the organizations that have openly discussed sex regarding the use of condoms. The religious group does not support the use of condoms as they may encourage immorality but instead encourages people to have sex only within the institution of marriage. Although such a fact can be disputed, it is useful to know that the Catholic Church has entrenched a less favorable perception of birth control. The teachings about sex may lead them to have unsafe sexual interactions (Hetherington et al., 2015). Hetherington et al. (2015) assert that young men of Latino origin are often taught the religious beliefs of abstaining from sexual intercourse until marriage. However, they often engage in oral sex, disregarding it as sex and exposing themselves to risks of contracting such diseases.

Cultural beliefs include those stereotypes and widely-accepted behavioral patterns that are affected by traditional and religious views of the Latino population. Though this concept has some positive aspects within romantic relationships, it has deleterious features, including dominance and sexual prowess, within a framework of sexual behavior. While the cultural background of Latino youth creates the stereotypes promoting the inclination of male adolescents to have many sexual relations, the religious factors related to the positions of the Catholic Church contributes to the popularity of stereotype considering protected sexual relations inappropriate.

The way pregnancy is viewed by Latina females is also interesting and needs to be discussed. Due to their high regard towards family and motherhood, many teen Latinas are encouraged to become mothers while still very young (Hetherington et al., 2015). Teen women may not view early pregnancy as a negative outcome of having unsafe sex; they may regard it highly as motherhood in their community is valuable.

Parent-Child Communication

It is necessary to mention that the communication between parents and children is of utmost importance for Latin families. According to Manu Mba, Asare, Odoi-Agyarko, & Asante (2015), young people aged between the ages of 10 and 24 represent one-third of the population, and most of them are sexually active. The study sought to explore parent-child dialogs in matters about sex. 790 parents and children were interviewed using questionnaires on several sexual topics. The research concluded that the number of fathers that communicated with their children on issues regarding sex is much less than those of females. The report also revealed mothers discussed sex-related issues with their children more in-depth compared to males. Hollander (2008) suggests that repetition is one of the most efficient tools to guarantee that children have an adequate of what measures should be taken to increase the probability of safe sex. Overall, these studies indicate that one of the biggest issues that are currently present is a lack of communication from the side of fathers, and repeated discussions may be incredibly useful in most cases.

Another aspect that is worth noting is that many parents avoid such conversations because they are worried about the reaction and many other complications that may occur. Militello et al. (2008) found that tension between parents and their teenage children developed when the teens perceived their parent’s advice on dating and sex as outdated. Eventually, the tension ruined the relationship, and communication between the teens and their parents had increased the chances of the teens engaging in unsafe sexual activities. On the contrary, research by Manu et al. (2015) revealed that Latino teenagers frequently practice unsafe sex because their parents often do not know what to say, how to say it, or when to discuss matters about sex with their children. Furthermore, it is necessary to mention that several issues lead to such behavior, but it is mostly caused by the fact that an enormous percentage of Latino parents do not know what course of action should be taken in such situations.

Educating teenagers about the risks of engaging in unsafe sex is important an important factor in enhancing the social development of the community. Latino parents who engaged in conversations with their teenage children on sex issues have positive results in terms of overall sexual health as the other parents of different races (Jerman & Constantine, 2010). A study by Ohmer & Korr (2006), on the effectiveness of community practice interventions, holds that parents are among the members of the community who should be in the forefront in the fight against unsafe sex; the study shows a direct relationship between the parental interventions and successful transition of the teenagers into adulthood. Furthermore, this means that it is expected that children will be able to avoid the consequences of unsafe sex if their parents provide such useful forums for their children. Therefore, parents need to have open conversations about sex to enhance the social development of the community.

There are cultural factors that hinder Latino parents from openly discussing sexual topics with their teenage sons and daughters. According to Guilamo-Ramos et al. (2006), Latino parents feel awkward and shy about discussing such issues with their teenage children. However, it is important to note that this problem is not only limited to Latino families but also other parents from other ethnic groups. For example, one of the studies by James (2010) indicates that black teenagers also have to deal with numerous problems. The biggest issue that is worth noting is that there is a noticeable lack of literature on the sexual education of people of color. It is imperative to say that there are tremendous differences between the cultures in most cases, and most parents think that their children should be able to learn everything themselves. The problem is that they require a particular approach most of the time, and the lack of information has an enormous effect on sexual development.

There is also the perception by parents that talking with their adolescent children about issues of sex prompts them to be sexually active. Latino parents need to address the issue of unsafe sex with their teenagers because they are equally affected by the negative consequences of sex.

Furthermore, Latino teenagers are also afraid to pose questions concerning sexual intercourse to their parents in fear that they will receive punishment for just asking such questions. They are afraid and feel so awkward asking their parents on such issues, hence, creating a barrier to effective communication on safe sex (Manago, Ward, & Aldana, 2014). The difficulty in making such communication is particularly prominent among minority groups, such as Latino teenagers.

Sexual Values Transmission

One of the principal ways of transmitting sexual values, knowledge, and understanding is through effectual sexual communication amid Guardians adolescents. According to Jerman and Constantine (2010), research on parent-child communication and child development has grown substantially over the preceding two decades. The gathered reports suggest that parental involvement can improve children’s knowledge and understanding of many social issues that affect them or will affect them in the future. The surveyed teens also disclosed that they frequently discussed sexual and reproductive issues more than they anticipated. 80% of the teens reported condom discussion with parents.

Communication is key as parents share ideas, values, information, and wisdom with their children. Parents have an opportunity to talk to their families every single day, and they help them grow. Demographic factors can impact guardian-child sexual communication (Jerman & Constantine, 2010). The gender of the child and the parent has been determined to be very crucial when it comes to sexual communication. Mothers are more likely to engage their children mostly daughters on sexual matters more than fathers are (Jerman & Constantine, 2010). In contrast, men are more inclined to engage their sons in sexual and reproduction topics compared to women. Similarly, a study by Guilamo-Ramos et al. (2006) showed that in communities where the fathers enforced discipline on dating rules, the children delayed the onset of sexual intercourse, and cases of teenage pregnancies were noted in such communities.

Parents are putting effort and are trying to break social barriers and engage their children in meaningful and helpful sexual conversations. However, going with the high numbers of sexually transmitted diseases among young adults and teenagers, parents need to do more to protect their children.

This chapter focused on the study of unsafe sex among Latino teens. The literature review highlighted the challenges in parent-child communication about safe sex. It also identified the barriers to effective sexual communication. The research also revealed that limited access to health care was a factor that hindered sexual talk within Latino families (Raffaelli & Green, 2003). It explained that with limited access to health centers, the Latino parents had little or no knowledge about sexual education. In the long run, limited access to health centers made both parents and children vulnerable to common sexually transmitted diseases and other illnesses.

Past research on parental communication with their teenagers shows a direct relationship between parental involvement and reduced health issues. It is also unlikely for such teenagers to be experience other impacts of unsafe sex such as dropping out of school (Hadley et. al. 2008). Research has also indicated that white parents talk more openly about sex with their teenagers compared to Latino parents. Among the factors that are identified as hindering the parents from discussing sexual topics with their children include shyness (Manago et al., 2014). However, there is a need for further research on more factors that hinder communication between Latino parents and their teenagers. Understanding the reasons that Latino parents are unable to discuss sex with their teenagers openly is important in enhancing the social development of the community.

Research Methodology

The purpose of this study is to explore open communication about sex amongst Latinos. More specifically, this study will explore graduate students’ retrospective accounts of sexual discussions with their parents. A primary aim of the study is to identify how open communication about sex may reduce pregnancies and STDs among Latino/teens. MSW students will be asked to provide their accounts and experiences of parent-based sexual communication, or lack of, on various open-ended survey questions. This study will utilize a mixed methods research design to ascertain the perceptions of sexual communication among Latino young adults.

Research Design

The study design will utilize a mixed-method approach. The study will use mixed-methods research. More specifically, the study will use survey methods to collect data and conduct a qualitative analysis. An open-ended questionnaire will be developed and administered to Master of Social Work (MSW) students at California State University of Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). The investigator anticipates that the survey will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. The cross-sectional research design will be adopted where the respondents’ perceptions of past experiences will be collected at a particular time point. The aim of selecting the research design was to explore whether Latino participants report parent-child communication differently than other ethnic groups.

Participants

This study will survey MSW students from the CSUDH Department of Social Work. Subjects should be currently enrolled in the MSW Department of Social Work. Individuals who self-identify as MSW students between the ages of 18 and 40 years of age will be included. The participants will include men and women from all ethnic groups.

As this is an exploratory study, the second investigator will compare MSW Latino students’ responses to the responses of students from other ethnic/racial groups. Therefore, all MSW students will be emailed an invitation to participate in the study voluntarily. The study will include young adults over the age of 18 years. The expected sample will include men and women from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. All participants interested in participating in this study will be enrolled in this project.

Materials

This study will utilize an anonymous online survey through Survey Monkey, a secure survey software program. The investigator anticipates that the questionnaire will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. The first part of the survey includes questions related to demographic information. The 2nd part of it was created by the second investigator and includes six open-ended questions to gather further information about particular sexual themes and values communicated. Some of the questions asked include; what is your opinion on unsafe sex? How hard is it to talk about sex with teenagers? Each participant will be allowed to write a short answer for each item. The questionnaire for this study is attached for review

(Appendix C). The investigator anticipates that the survey will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. The first part of the survey includes questions related to demographic information. To gather further information about particular sexual themes and values communicated. The second part of the questionnaire was created by the second investigator and includes six open-ended questions. Each participant will be allowed to write a short answer for each item. The questionnaire for this study is attached for review.

Procedure

A self-administered survey that includes six open-ended questions has been developed. The survey will be administered to the selected sample via Survey Monkey. Once the subjects receive the request for participation and consent to participate, the self-administered questionnaires will be sent to them for response and submission. The participants will have two weeks to complete and return the questionnaires. All the subjects who will not have submitted their completed questionnaires will only receive one email reminder so that the research is complete on the stipulated timelines. Once permission is gained, the primary investigator will email the MSW student body a link to the online survey containing the assent form and all measures (Appendix A). The email will encourage the participant to complete the questionnaire in a private and quiet space and will remind the individual that the survey is anonymous. The research timing will be exactly two weeks from the time of sending out the request letters to the timeframe of compiling the completed questionnaires. All the subjects who will not have submitted their completed questionnaires will receive an email reminder so that the research is complete on the stipulated timelines (Appendix B). Upon completion of the online survey, the questionnaire will direct the participants to a page that will thank the individual for completing the questionnaire.

Analysis

The second investigator will conduct a content analysis of survey responses to identify themes. Thematic analysis will be used to guide the analysis. Thematic analysis entails examining the major causes of a phenomenon by looking at the similarity of data (Raffaelli & Green, 2003). Once all the data is collected, the second investigator will see if Latinos responded differently from other ethnic groups.

Appendix A

Study Invitation Email

The email will read as follows:

Hello, my name is Jessica Ramos, and I am a graduate student here at California State

University, Dominguez Hills. With permission from the Master of Social Work department, the IRB, and the administrator office, I am contacting you to invite you to participate in a research study I am conducting for my capstone project. This study examines where MSW students ages (18-40) learned about safe sex while growing up. The focus of the study is identifying what individuals wished their parents communicated to them about safe sex. The study is completed online, at your leisure, and takes approximately 30-45 minutes. If you are interested in completing the online survey, please email me at

Appendix B

Reminder Email

Dear [Name]:

Two weeks ago, you received an e-mail message inviting you to participate in a research study I am conducting for my capstone project by filling out a web-based survey. If you have filled out the survey, thank you!

If you have not had a chance to take the survey yet, I would appreciate you reading the message below and completing the survey. This survey should take no more than 30-45 minutes to complete.

To take the web-based survey, click on https://www.surveymonkey.com/

Thank you for your time!

Appendix C

Safe Sex Communication Survey

Demographic Background

    1. Age:________
    1. Sex:
      1. Female
      2. Male
      3. Transgender
    2. Were you sexually active as a teenager? If so, what age? ___________________.
    1. Are your parents religious? If so, what religion? _________________________.
    1. Ethnic group background/identification_________________________________.
    1. Parents’ marital status: Single Cohabiting Engaged Married Separated

Divorced Widowed

    1. If parents are divorced, how old were you, when they divorced? _________
    1. Where did you spend the majority of your formative years (from ages 13-18)?
      1. United States (which state?) ________________
      2. Other country (which?) _________________________
      3. What County? _________________________

Sexual Communication

The following questions will ask you to describe the nature of sexual communication between parent/guardian(s) and their teenage children. Remember: You have the option to skip any question you do not wish to answer.

  1. What does open communication about safe sex with parents look like? Please respond with a short answer.
  2. Did you and your parents have open communication about safe sex when you were an adolescent?
    1. If not, what was the most upsetting part about not having open communication about safe sex with your parents? Please respond with a short answer.
    2. If yes, what was the most rewarding part of having open communication with your parents about safe sex? Please respond with a short answer.
  3. If you DID communicate with your parents, what made it possible for your parents to discuss sex and sexuality? Please respond with a short answer.
  4. If you DID NOT communicate with your parents, why do you think your parents did not have a discussion about safe sex and sexuality with you? Please respond with a short answer.
  5. In general, what issues/factors make communication about safe sex with parents difficult? Please respond with a short answer.

References

Cobb‐Clark, D. A., Ryan, C., & Sartbayeva, A. (2012). Taking Chances: The Effect that Growing Up on Welfare Has on the Risky Behavior of Young People. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 114(3), 729-755.

Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2012). Critical Race Theory (2nd. ed.). New York: New York University Press.

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