New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

NYU Study Finds That Fathers Matter When It Comes To Their Teenager’s Sexual Behavior

October 15, 2012

A new study by New York University professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos and colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that fathers’ parenting behavior influences the sexual behavior of their adolescent children. However, to date most parent-based research on adolescent sexual risk behavior has neglected the role of fathers, a missed opportunity to contribute to their adolescent children’s health and well-being.

While it is well-established that parenting is closely linked with a teenager’s sexual health and reproductive outcomes, it is mothers that, to date, have drawn most of the attention of researchers, according to the study published today by Pediatrics. Guilamo-Ramos is professor of social work and co-director of the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work.

Far less is known, the study found, about how fathers’ specific parenting behaviors influence different areas of adolescent sexual risk behavior. The study, “Paternal Influences on Adolescent Sexual Risk Behaviors: A Structured Literature Review,” states that the majority of research that looks at the role of fathers tends to conceptualize their influence with limited perspective, viewing them as an economic provider chiefly, or looking mainly at whether or not they are present in the home. Additionally, most studies tended to examine father influence on only one area of adolescent sexual risk behavior, sexual debut.

The study calls for more, and more rigorous, research, and depicts the current shortage of father-specific studies as a passed-up chance to improve the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents. The absence of sufficient father-focused research also contributes to a lack of understanding of the ways that fathers may differ from mothers in how they monitor, supervise, and communicate with their teenage children, and how they can make a greater difference.

The authors provide recommendations for primary care providers and public health practitioners. These recommendations deal with how better to incorporate fathers into interventions designed to reduce sexual risk behavior at a critical developmental stage associated with risk-taking and negative outcomes, from sexually transmitted diseases to unwanted pregnancy.

Successful father-based interventions, the study says, potentially represent an additional mechanism to influence teen sexual behavior and thus expand the opportunity to support adolescent health and well-being.

In addition to principal author Guilamo-Ramos, the study with co-authored by Alida Bouris, PhD; Jane Lee, MSW; Katharine McCarthy, MPH; Shannon L. Michael; PhD; Seraphine Pitt-Barnes, PhD, and Patricia Dittus, PhD.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Research, Silver School of Social Work

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Robert Polner | (212) 998-2337

NYU Study Finds That Fathers Matter When It Comes To Their Teenager’s Sexual Behavior

Search News



NYU In the News

Entrepreneurship Lab Opens at NYU

Crain’s New York Business covered the opening of the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurial eLab, which will be the headquarters for NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute and all of the University’s programs aimed at promoting innovation and startups.

A Globalizer for N.Y.U. in Abu Dhabi

The New York Times profiled Bill Bragin who will become the first executive artistic director of NYU Abu Dhabi’s new performing arts center.

Think Tank to Ponder a Future for Ballet

The New York Times profiled Jennifer Homans, the director of NYU’s new Center for Ballet and the Arts.

The Brilliant Ten: Jonathan Viventi Builds Devices That Decode Thoughts

Popular Science named Assistant Bioengineering Professor Jonathan Viventi as one of its “brilliant ten” for his research into brain implants that could one day halt epileptic episodes:

Living and Leaving the Dream: Adrian Cardenas’ Journey from the Major Leagues to College

The New York Times ran a feature on Adrian Cardenas, a former major league baseball player who is now studying philosophy and creating writing at NYU.

NYU Footer