From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Parent-Adolescent Relationships

Extensive research has investigated how parent-child relationships affect adolescent children’s early sexual activity and other sexual risk-behaviours. However, there has been little research to investigate whether parents also influence the quality of young people’s sexual relationships.

Using self-reported data from 1,854 Scottish school pupils (mean age 15 years 6 months) in the Healthy Respect Evaluation, we have conducted multivariate analyses to examine associations between parenting processes and sexual outcomes (delayed first intercourse, condom use, autonomy at first sex and having or expecting first sex in a relationship context). There were three main research aims.

1. To identify which parenting processes are associated with sexual risk avoidance, autonomy and relatedness. We are interested in the relative importance of parenting that is directly concerned with sexual matters (parental sexual values and communication about sex) versus generic parenting processes (a supportive parent-teenager relationship and parental supervision).
2. To explore gender differences in the effect of parenting processes.
3. To explore possible mediators for any parenting effects on sexual risk, autonomy and relatedness.



Parkes A, Henderson M, Wight D, Nixon C. Is parenting associated with teenagers’ early sexual risk-taking, autonomy and relationship with sexual partners?. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2011;43:30-40

pubmed  open access