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Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention Advance Access originally published online on July 19, 2005
Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 2005 5(4):379-390; doi:10.1093/brief-treatment/mhi023
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© The Author 2005. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

Original Article

Improving Comfort About Sex Communication Between Parents and Their Adolescents: Practice-Based Research Within a Teen Sexuality Group

   Valerie Burgess, MSW
   Sophia F. Dziegielewski, PhD, LCSW
   Cheryl Evans Green, PhD

From the School of Social Work, University of Central Florida

Contact author: Sophia F. Dziegielewski, Professor and Director, School of Social Work, 4130 One Edwards Center, PO Box 210108, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0108. E-mail: dziegisf{at}

Unplanned pregnancy and the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases continue to be prevalent problems among adolescents. These problems often result in adverse health, social, and economic consequences for teenagers and their families. Previous research has explored the impact of parent–teen communication on reducing risk-taking sexual behaviors by adolescents. Discomfort with this topic of discussion has been identified as a barrier to effective familial sex communication. Currently, there is little practice-based information concerning interventions designed to improve communication comfort about sexually related issues within families, especially between parents and their adolescents. Therefore, this article describes a time-limited psychoeducational group designed to increase familial comfort in communicating about sex. In four group sessions, six court-ordered adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 and their parents were provided information on teen sexuality along with skill building in the area of communication and decision making. At the end of this practice-based group, evaluation of the data indicated significant improvements in communication comfort levels among participants. The results are discussed, and the limitations of the intervention are reviewed. Implications for future research and practice with parents and their adolescents are also examined.

KEY WORDS: sex education, groups and sex education, teens and sex education, familial sex education, adolescent sexuality, parent–adolescent communication

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