adolescents, HIV prevention, sex-based communication



  1. DiIorio, Colleen
  2. Resnicow, Ken
  3. McCarty, Frances
  4. De, Anindya K.
  5. Dudley, William N.
  6. Wang, Dongqing Terry
  7. Denzmore, Pamela


Background: The concern that adolescents may be placing themselves at risk for contracting HIV has led to widespread public and parental support for HIV prevention programs. Several programs on increasing communication between parents and teenagers have been tested, but the study of the impact of these programs on resulting sexual behavior is lacking.


Objective: To test the efficacy of two interventions for mothers and their adolescents in delaying initiation of sexual intercourse for youth who are not sexually active and encouraging the use of condoms among sexually active youth.


Methods: Employed were a control group and two treatment groups: one based on social cognitive theory (SCT) and the other a life skills program (LSK) based on problem behavior theory. Assessments were conducted before the intervention (baseline) and at 4, 12, and 24 months after the baseline assessment.


Results: Adolescents and their mothers (total N = 582) enrolled in the trial. At baseline, the adolescents ranged in age 11-14 years and were mostly male and African American. The mean age of the mothers was 37.9 years, and most were African American and single. The primary analyses showed no difference among groups in abstinence rates for adolescents. However, adolescents in the LSK group demonstrated an increase in the condom use rate, and those in the SCT and control groups scored higher on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) knowledge than those in the LSK group. Mothers showed substantial increases over time in comfort talking about sex and self-efficacy. For HIV knowledge, mothers in the SCT group scored significantly higher than those in the LSK and control groups.


Conclusion: The results of this study are comparable to previous studies that have included mothers in the HIV education of their adolescents. Although the program did not demonstrate a substantial effect on abstinence rates, increases were observed in condom use among adolescents and in mother's sex-based discussions and comfort in talking about sexual issues.