College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-22-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jocelyn Carter, PhD

Second Advisor

Susan Tran, PhD


Adolescents are engaging in risky sexual behavior at high rates which is impacting the rise of sexually transmitted infections in the United States. Risky sexual behavior in adolescence is related to both negative health and psychological outcomes. Sexual health communication between adolescents and adults might serve as a protective factor to prevent adolescents in participating in risky sexual behavior, however the specific factors that could contribute to this impact are less known. This thesis has two aims: 1) to determine how sexual health communication between adolescents and adults impacts risky sexual behavior and 2) to explore how sex, race/ ethnicity, and age differences play a factor in the relationship between sexual health communication and risky sexual behavior. The sample included 376 participants who were mostly between the ages of 13-14. Participants completed surveys at two time-points separated by approximately two months. Correlation and hierarchical regression analyses were used to determine the results. Frequency of sexual health discussions, greater number of topics discussed, greater number of adults participants talked with at Time 1 predicted less sex at Time 2. Youth-adult sexual health communication impacts adolescent sexual activity.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons