Chapter 1


The social work profession presents an opportunity to contemplate, learn, touch, and transform the society with social services. There have been increased incidences of young people engaging in risky activities that are detrimental to their health and well-being (Cobb-Clark, Ryan, & Sartbayeva, 2012). This can be attributed to parents not engaging their children in conversations that help them acquire positive and sound attitudes about themselves. A key issue, apart from drug and substance abuse among other risky behaviours, is sexual activity. There are various problems that are associated with unsafe sex that include teenage pregnancies, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases (Golin et al.2012). Ironically, adults want their children to be aware of issues, such as preventing the problems associated with unsafe sex, but they still see it as a challenge to communicate to them about sex (Nikken & de Graaf, 2013). Positive communication about sex is vital for young people to enable them to develop the ability to have their personal values and enable them to make right decisions. Hence, parents should embrace the communication of safe sex topics as an opportunity and not view it as a challenge.

            It is important to note that indeed there are parents who engage their teenage daughters and sons on the issue of safe sex. Parents engage their sons and daughters differently in issues relating to unsafe sex. They discuss about the risks associated with having unsafe sex such as teenage pregnancies that make them parents at an early age before they even get ready for the same.  Some of the negative impacts associated with early pregnancies include dropping out of school and this affects one’s career objectives and future economic status. The parent’s advice their children on the advantages of having safe sexual intercourse, especially in this era where the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections are very high (Pippard & Bjorklund, 2003). They also discuss with the teenagers about the actions they should take in case they have had unsafe sex such as seeking medical attention to be screened for any sexually transmitted diseases (Office of Adolescent Health, 2015).  There are various myths that exist in support of unsafe sex such as increased pleasure and the parents have to demystify the myths by persuading the teenagers on safe sex with arguments such as reduced health risks.

 In their study, Guilamo-Ramos and colleagues (2006) investigated how the different ethnic groups in the United States discussed about sex and found out that Latino parents were less likely to engage in such discussions. This is contrary to parents from other ethnic groups, such as whites, who engage their children more than Latino parents in such vital discussions. Notably, there is a need for uniformity among all parents where they all have discussions with their teenage children regardless of the race or locations. The issue of unsafe sex affects all the teenagers in regardless of their race thus the failure by Latino parents to discuss the issue of unsafe sex openly with their children has a long-term negative impact on the community. To address the factors that hinder Latino parents from openly engage in sexual discussions, the current study aims to investigate the role of parent-teenage communication, on Latino family discussions about safe sex with teenage boys and girls.


            Teen pregnancy is not a new phenomenon in USA. Teen pregnancy refers to the situation where adolescents bear children either within or outside wedlock. Parenting at any age can be challenging, but it can be particularly difficult for adolescent parents. (Office of Adolescent Health, 2015). The statistics about teen pregnancy in United States of America have been arrived at after extensive research by both government agencies and non-governmental agencies. The figure has however been on a constant decline over the last 20 years. However, the USA still holds the highest rate of teen pregnancy among the developed nations (Singh, 2013). In 2013 for every 1000 adolescents (15-19 years), there were 26.6 births (Office of Adolescent Health, 2014). The high rates of teen pregnancies may be as a result of unsafe sex that is common among teenagers, most of whom do it out of ignorance. Enlightening the teenagers on the risks of the unsafe sex is crucial in enhancing the social development of the society.

Teen pregnancy has been in existence for a long period of time and the government has done a lot to reduce or eliminate the problem.

There are various intervention approaches, such as peer counseling, use of contraceptives and seeking medical attention after one engages in unsafe sex (Ohmer & Korr, 2006). In addition, parent communication strategies that can be used to enhance safe sex among teenagers, especially the Latinos. Communication about safe sex with teenagers is important in protecting them from the adverse impacts of unsafe sex (Ohmer & Korr, 2006).  However, Latino parents are less likely to discuss sexual issues with their teenage children due to the social construction associated with sex. Raffaelli and Green (2003) argue that most teenage pregnancies among Latina girls are related to the fact that they have very minimal communications about sex as compared to those who do not have teenage pregnancies.  This implies that there are still some interventions such as the use of emergency contraceptives that teenagers who have had unsafe sex can use. . There are actions that the social workers can use to enhance sex education among the teenagers, especially in relation to unsafe sex. Some of these interventions include setting up testing and counseling sessions for HIV and other STDs and holding seminars on the dangers of unsafe sex.  Interventions that can be taken before or after the teenager engages in unsafe sex. Some teenagers may not know the right action they should take after having unsafe sex thus it is important for parents to openly discuss these interventions with the teenagers.  It is important for the teenagers to look out for symptoms such as sores, unusual bleeding and discharge and rashes as they may be a sign of sexually transmitted illness contracted during the unsafe sex.  For the teenage girls, one can have the IUD implanted even five days after having unprotected sex to prevent unwanted pregnancy (Raffaelli & Green, 2003). The other intervention is taking the emergency contraceptives. Having unsafe sex with persons of the same gender is also a risky behavior that can transmit illnesses such as hepatitis C but can be prevented by intervention such as avoiding use of the same sex toys.  Parents who are unable to communicate to their children openly about the importance of having safe sex may use other interventions such as buying them books and magazines on safe sex.


Statement of the Problem

            Unsafe sex is an issue among teenagers, not only in the United States, but across the globe. Studies have indicated that a high number of teenagers who face the adverse impacts of unsafe sex do not communicate with their parents about sex. Gideon (2012) argues that a majority of teenagers who are likely to engage in unsafe sex have little or no communication at all with their parents. In their research on parental communication about sex, Raffaelli, and Green (2003) argue that parents who talk openly about sex with their children worry less about the likelihood of facing the negative impacts of unsafe sex such as infections. The consequences of having unsafe sex can be reduced by educating the teenagers about the risks associated with the act, but it is not easy for all parents.  Communication between parents and their teenagers is hindered by the lack of openness between the two parties but this only leads more teenagers into the risks that result from unsafe sex such as early pregnancies. Unlike White parents in the United States, Latino parents appear to be unable to discuss issues of sex openly with their teenage children. This is a threat to the social development of the community, bearing in mind that the Latino teenagers are not different from the others. This implies that they will still engage in risky sexual behaviours that threaten their social development and health. Latino parents understand the importance of educating the teenagers on dangers of unsafe sex yet they are unable to discuss the same. Identifying the factors that make it hard for the Latino parents to discuss the issue of unsafe sex with their teenagers will help in solving the issue.

Proposed Study

            The overall purpose of this study is to explore graduate student’s retrospective accounts of sexual communication with their parents. This study will sample Master of Social Work (MSW) students at California State University of Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) to examine their perceptions of safe sex communication with their parents as adolescents. This study also aims to identify what factors facilitate or hinder open communication between parents and their children. The presence of the barrier to communication between parents and teenagers has led to unawareness among teenagers, and this leads to a host of problems associated with unsafe sex (Raffaelli, 2003). Instead of focusing on barriers to communication, this study will use survey methods to identify factors that create open communication between parents and their teenage children. In other words, it will also seek to explore the contextual and social condition that enables safe-sex conversation to take place.

The adverse impacts of unsafe sex should be prevented by all means to enhance social progress of the society. This implies that Latino parents need to engage more with their teenage children. It is therefore necessary for the Latino parents to understand the interventions that are likely to help them address the issue of safe sex with their teenage children more effectively.  For instance, they can engage the children in discussions on peer groups instead of individuals. Holding seminars on the issue of unsafe sex is also a way through which the Latino teenagers can be enlightened about the dangers of having unsafe sex.

Research Design

The study will utilize a mixed methods research design. A survey questionnaire will be developed and administered to the selected sample of MSW students. The survey methodology appears to be the most appropriate for this research, as it gives an opportunity to collect a broad range of data and gives extensive flexibility in data analysis due to the unlimited number of questions that can be asked (Gideon, 2012). The nature of question used in the survey will be open-ended so as to gather adequate information on the possible reasons that may hinder the Latino parents from discussing sexual issues openly with their teenage boys and girls.  The analysis will be done qualitatively using thematic analysis.

            This study will explore open communication about sex amongst Latinos. More specifically, this study will explore graduate students’ retrospective accounts of the sexual communication with their parents. A primary aim of the study is to identify how open communication about sex may reduce pregnancies and STDs among Latino/teens. MSW students will be asked to provide their individual personal accounts and experiences of parent-based sexual communication, or lack of, on various open-ended survey questions. This study will utilize a mixed methods research design to ascertain the perceptions of sexual communication among Latino young adults.

Theoretical Framework

            The proposed study will use Critical Race Theory (CRT) as well as Assets and Social Development Theory to having a better understanding of sexual communication between parents and teenagers. This section will provided a discussion regarding the theoretical focus of the current study.

            Critical race theory. CRT is a framework for investigating racial disparities by promoting a critical analysis of racism by examining various life factors.  The critical race theory seeks to examine the inequities between the dominant groups and the marginalized groups that affect the state of population in marginalized settings (Delgado & Stefanie, 2012). Although the CRT theory has predominantly been used in matters of law, it is increasingly being employed in areas such as sociological and educational research (Hyton, 2012). The theory strives at the achievement of equality between the races believing that the gains of the American society are disproportionately shared among the various ethnic groups in the country.

In this case, the Latinos are seen as the marginalized group because the teenagers in this race do not benefit from sex education like the rest of the population. The Latino teenagers are marginalize in the society since they are more vulnerable to teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections that result from unprotected sex. By using the critical theory, it is possible to examine the factors that make Latino parents unable to approach the issue of sex education with their teenage sons and daughters.  The approaches proposed by the critical race theory are helpful in bridging the gap between the white and Latino race by facilitating the identification of factors that hinder the Latino parents from discussing sexual topics openly with their teenagers. Essentially, CRT recognizes the existence of racism and its consequences against those who are treated as unequal. The theory will be applied in the study to identify the factors that hinder Latino parents from discussing sexual issues with their teenagers as well as the factors that make the white race more open with their teenagers on the same.

Intervention theory.

Assets and Social Development is the intervention theory used in this study because it enhances the understanding of a community with regard to the way it functions (settings (Delgado & Stefanie, 2012). According to this theory, development of the society is the result of its capacity to manage the resources to overcome challenges and use opportunities (Gideon, 2012). This is helpful in understanding the values that govern behaviour within a society. In this case, the theory is useful in explaining the cultural and religious factors that the Latino parents can use to enhance the openness in communication with their teenage sons and daughters. . Asset-based social development is related to the concept of empowerment, suggests that the key to finding solutions to the problems faced by the society lies in the already existing community assets. The current study, aims to identify the many assets that the Latino community could use to promote education about safe sex among the teenagers.

            The usage of social development theory can be applied to the issue of family sexual education as well. The assets-based approach helps to suggest the potential steps necessary for overcoming teen pregnancies and unsafe sex with the help of already existing social asset – family units.

            The issue of unsafe sex among teenagers can be solved by having the parents and guardians advise the children on the adverse consequences of the act. The adverse impacts of unsafe sex necessitate actions to control the same.  Parents, guardians, and other members of the community have a responsibility of ensuring that the teenagers are not affected by the adverse impacts of unsafe sex such as disruption of education. Education is one of the aspects that promote social development in a community therefore should be promoted among the teenagers. To understand the social development better, the asset and social development theory can be effective. The theory holds that the potential and strengths within the community are the assets that can be used to enhance social development (Pippard & Bjorklund, 2003).

             The development of Latino society can be achieved by identifying the potential that the teenagers have and encouraging them to work towards achieving the best in the society by avoiding unsafe sex. The community should take the initiative to educate the Latino teenagers about the dangers of having unsafe sex to one’s life such as contracting incurable diseases.  By doing this, it is possible for the community to tap and develop the skills of the teenagers for development of the entire community. A study carried out by Ohmer & Korr (2006), proves that it is possible to develop a community through implementing appropriate interventions such as enlightening the society on the factors that affect their development. This implies that it is possible to achieve sustainable development among the Latino people by educating the teenagers on dangers of unsafe sex.

Significance of the Study

            The study will go a long way in informing practitioners in dealing with issues of sex among the teenage population of among Latinos. The study is a survey that explores Master of Social Work (MSW) students at California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH)  and will focus on the sexual communication Latinos/a received as adolescents by comparing their responses to the survey with the responses by other ethnic/racial groups.  This will help inform Latino parents confront the awkwardness and the shame they might have had during such discussions and, in the process, impact positive attitudes and behaviour. This study is a stepping stone to promote awareness of the importance of sex education and to lower the increasing concern about the national teen pregnancy rates among Latinos.


            The negative impacts of unsafe sex necessitate the concern for educating teenagers on the advantages of having safe sex. There are interventions that parents can use to protect the teenage children from the adverse impacts of unsafe sex. The interventions include providing them with books that discuss the impacts of unsafe sex and as well as the advantages of engaging in safe sex. There are also helpful interventions that can be used to protect the adverse impacts of engaging in sex without using protection. Among the interventions that teenagers can take after having unsafe sex include seeking medical attention, especially if they experience symptoms such as sores, rashes, and unusual bleeding.  An early pregnancy among teenagers is among the adverse impacts of unprotected sex but it can be prevented by taking emergency contraceptive pills and IUD soon after the unprotected sex. The main issue in unprotected sex is prevention of the same but even if it has occurred, there are interventions that can be taken to ensure it does not occur again.



Sexual awakening begins in adolescence.  Approximately four out to ten 9th grades have experienced sex and nearly seven out of ten have had sex by the time they reach the 12th grade. Yearly, an estimated three million teens contract sexually transmitted diseases. According to a recent research, a total of 798 parent-teenagers who had had sex were assessed (Hadley et al., 2008). Out of the 798, 485 teens disclosed they had either vaginal or anal sex. With such statistics, the question that begs to be answered is whether parents are talking to their children about safe sex. Certainly, much work remains to be done in order to reduce teenage sex, particularly among the Latino community. Consequently, it is crucial to not only explore the barriers to safe sex among the teenage Latinos but also examine how the parent-child communication can be improved in the community.

            This chapter will discuss the major factors that the social workers can address in trying to enhance open communication about sex, especially among the Latino parents and their teenagers.  It will highlight the major aspects that lead the teenagers to engage in unsafe sex, with or without the knowledge on the dangers of such acts.

Barriers to Safe Sex among Latino Adolescents

Considered to be one of the youngest and fastest growing populations in America, 40.9% of Latinos are arguably under 21 years of age. This means that the Latino population is set to grow at a very fast rate given that the youthful population would start reproducing and giving birth once they become sexually active. With estimates showing that 51% of Latinas get pregnant at least once before they celebrate their 20th birthday, teens are considered to have the highest birth rates in comparison to any other minority group or population. The following section describes some of the barriers to safe sex that contribute to higher teen pregnancy rates among Latino youth.

Poverty and Lack of Healthcare

In addition, 20 percent of the general Latino population live below the poverty line with poor health services in their neighbourhoods. The issue of unsafe sex among the teenagers is likely to increase the poverty even higher. This is because unsafe sex denies the teenagers some of the basic needs that may shape their future economic life such as education. Through education, one is likely to secure a well paying jobs and they are also able to promote development initiatives in the region such as supporting the less fortunate with school fees.

However, other racial populations suffer from poverty; it is important to understand the Latino culture to recognize why safe sex faces a lot of barriers. Being a tight and well-grounded population, most teen women from the Latino population are faced with cultural norms, poverty, inadequate health care, and discrimination. 

In the American health system, Latinas are one of the most under-served groups when it comes to healthcare. According to the 2000 Census, a whole 33 percent of Latinas lacked medical insurance compared to 19 percent of Africa-Americans (Hetherington, Burleson & Militello, 2015). This paves way for lack of healthcare knowledge among the population making them vulnerable to all sought of diseases and sexually transmitted diseases.

Cultural Beliefs

The Latino culture is a strong phenomenon in the community as it involves how people behave and think about issues affecting them. To begin with, it is notable that the Latino culture promotes machismo in a way that predisposes females to be subjugated. Machismo defines masculinity as an ability to seduce a woman, and therefore, praises frequent sexual relations with different partners (Raffaelli & Iturbide, 2009).The Catholic Church is among the organizations that have openly discussed about sex, with regard to use of condoms. The religious group does not support the use of condoms as they may encourage immorality but instead encourages people to have sex only within the institution of marriage. Although such a fact can be disputed, it is useful to know that the Catholic Church has entrenched a less favourable perception about birth control. The teachings about sex may lead them to have unsafe sexual interactions (Hetherington, Burleson, & Militello, 2015). Hetherington (2015) Asserts that young men of Latino origin are often taught the religious beliefs of abstaining from sexual intercourse until marriage. However, they often engage in oral sex, disregarding it as sex and exposing themselves to risk of contracting sexual diseases.             Cultural beliefs include those stereotypes and widely-accepted behavioural patterns that are affected by traditional and religious views of the Latino population. Though this concept has some positive features within romantic relationships, it has deleterious features, including dominance and sexual prowess, within a framework of sexual behaviour (Kassab et al., 2014). While the cultural background of Latino youth creates the stereotypes promoting the inclination of male adolescents to have many sexual relations, the religious background related to the positions of Catholic Church contributes to the popularity of stereotype considering protected sexual relations inappropriate. 

Due to their high regard towards family and motherhood, many teen Latinas are encouraged to become mothers while still very young (Hetherington, Burleson & Militello, 2015). Teen women may not view early pregnancy as a negative outcome of having unsafe sex; they may regard it highly as motherhood in their community is valuable.

Parent-Child Communication

According to Abubakar (2015), young people aged between the ages of 10 and 24 represent one-third of the population and most of them are sexually-active. The study sought to explore parent-child dialogs in matters pertaining to sex. 790 parents and children were interviewed using questionnaires on several sexual topics. The research concluded that less fathers than mothers communicated with their children on issues regarding sex. The report also revealed mothers discussed sex-related issues with their children more in depth compared to the fathers.

Additionally, studies by Militello et al. (2008) found that tension between parents and their teenage children developed when the teens perceived their parent’s advice on dating and sex as outdated. Eventually, the tension ruined the relationship and communication between the teens and their parents had increased the chances of the teens engaging in unsafe sexual activities. On the contrary, research by Asare et al. revealed that the Latino teens often engaged in unsafe sex because Latino parents often do not know what to say, how to say it, or when to discuss matters pertaining to sex with their children.

Educating the teenagers about the risks of engaging in unsafe sex is important an important factor in enhancing the social development of the community. It is evident that Latino parents who engaged in conversations with their teenage children on sex issues have positive results in terms of overall sexual health as the other parents of different races (Jerman & Constantine, 2010). A study by Ohmer & Korr (2006), on the effectiveness of community practice interventions hold that parents are among the members of the community who should be in the forefront in the fight against unsafe sex; the study shows a direct relationship between the parental interventions and successful transition of the teenagers into adulthood.  This means that the more Latino parents provide such useful forums for their children, the more children are aware and are able to avoid consequences of unsafe sex. It is therefore important for the parents to have open conversations about sex so as to enhance social development of the community.

There are cultural factors that hinder the Latino parents from openly discussing sexual topics with their teenage sons and daughters. According to Guilamo-Ramos et al. (2006), Latino parents feel awkward and shy about discussing such issues with their teenage children. However, it is important to note that this problem is not only limited to the Latino families but also other parents from other ethnic groups. There is also the perception by parents that talking with their adolescent children about issues of sex prompt them to be sexually active. It is important for the Latino parents y address the issue of unsafe sex with their teenagers because they are equally affected by the negative consequences of sex.

Furthermore, Latino teenagers are also afraid to pose questions concerning sexual intercourse to their parents in fear that they will receive punishment for just asking such questions. They are afraid and feel so awkward asking their parents on such issues, hence, creating a barrier to effective communication on safe sex (Manago, Ward, & Aldana, 2014). The difficulty in making such communication is particularly prominent among minority groups, such as the Latino teenagers.

Sexual Values Transmission

            One of the principle ways of transmitting sexual values, knowledge, and understanding is through effectual sexual communication amid Guardians adolescents. According to Jerman and Constantine (2015), research on parent-child communication and child development has grown substantially over the preceding two decades. The gathered reports suggest that parental involvement can improve children’s knowledge and understanding of many social issues that affect them or will affect them in future. In fact, the surveyed teens also disclosed that they frequently discussed sexual and reproductive issues more than they anticipated. 80% of the teens reported condom discussion with parents.

Communication is key as parents share ideas, values, information and wisdom with their children. The greater advantage parents have is that they have the opportunity to talk to their family daily as such they play a crucial role in shaping them as they grow. Demographic factors can impact guardian-child sexual communication (Jerman & Constantine, 2010). The gender of the child and the parent has been determined to be very crucial when it comes to sexual communication. Mothers are more likely to engage their children mostly daughters on sexual matters more than fathers are (Jerman & Constantine, 2010). In contrast, fathers are more likely to engage their sons in sexual and reproduction topic compared to women. Similarly a study by Ramos et al. showed that in communities where the fathers enforced discipline on dating rules, the children delayed the onset of sexual intercourse and low cases of teenage pregnancies were noted in such communities.

Parents are putting efforts and are trying to break social barriers and engage their children in meaningful and helpful sexual conversations. However, going with the high numbers of sexually transmitted diseases among young adults and teenagers, parents need to do more to protect their children.

This chapter focused the study of unsafe sex among Latino teens. The literature review highlighted the challenges in parent-child communication about safe sex. It also identified the barriers to effective sexual communication. The research reviewed also revealed that limited access to healthcare centres was a factor that hindered sexual talk within Latino families (Raffaelli & Green, 2003) It explained that with limited access to health centres, the Latino parents had little or no knowledge on sexual education. In the long run, limited access to health centres made both parents and children vulnerable to common sexually transmitted diseases and other diseases.

Past research on parental communication with their teenagers shows a direct relationship between parental involvement and reduced health issues. It is also unlikely for such teenagers to be experience other impacts of unsafe sex such as dropping out of school (Hadley et. al. 2008). Research has also indicated that white parents talk more openly about sex with their teenagers compared to the Latino parents. Among the factors that are identified as hindering the parents from discussing sexual topics with their teenagers include shyness (Manago, Ward & Aldana 2014). However, there is need for further research on more factors that hinder the communication between Latino parents and their teenagers.  Understanding the reasons that the Latino parents are unable to discuss sex with their teenagers openly is important in enhancing social development of the community.



            The purpose of this study is to explore open communication about sex amongst Latinos. More specifically, this study will explore graduate students’ retrospective accounts of the sexual communication with their parents. A primary aim of the study is to identify how open communication about sex may reduce pregnancies and STDs among Latino/teens. MSW students will be asked to provide their individual personal accounts and experiences of parent-based sexual communication, or lack of, on various open-ended survey questions. This study will utilize a mixed methods research design to ascertain the perceptions of sexual communication among Latino young adults.

Research Design

            The study design will utilize a mixed method approach. A self-administered survey that includes 6 open-ended questions has been developed. The survey will be administered to the selected sample via Survey Monkey. Once the subjects receive the request for participation and consent to participate, the self-administered questionnaires will be sent to them for response and submission. The participants will have two weeks to complete and return the questionnaires. All the subjects who will not have submitted their completed questionnaires will only receive one email reminder so that the research is complete on the stipulated timelines.

            The investigator anticipates that the survey will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. The first part of the survey includes questions related to the demographic information.

To gather further information about specific sexual themes and values communicated. The Second part of the survey was created by the secondary investigator and includes 6 open-ended questions. Each participant will be allowed to write a short answer for each item. The questionnaire for this study is attached for review.


      This study will survey MSW students from the CSUDH Department of Social Work. Subjects should be currently enrolled in the MSW department of Social Work. Subjects will include individuals who self-identify as MSW students between the ages 18 and 40 years of age. The subjects will include men and women from all ethnic groups.

      As this is an exploratory study, the secondary investigator will compare MSW Latino students’ responses to the responses by students from other ethnic/racial groups. Therefore, all MSW students will be emailed an invitation to voluntarily participate in the study. The study will include young adults over the age of 18 years. The expected sample will include men and women from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. All participants interested in participating in this study will be enrolled in this project.


            This study will utilize an anonymous online survey through Survey Monkey, a secure survey software program. The investigator anticipates that the survey will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. The first part of the survey includes questions related to the demographic information.

To gather further information about specific sexual themes and values communicated, the 2nd part of the survey was created by the secondary investigator and includes 6 open-ended questions. Some of the questions asked include; what is your opinion on unsafe sex? How hard is it talk about sex with teenagers? Each participant will be allowed to write a short answer for each item. The questionnaire for this study is attached for review

(Appendix A).


Once consent is received, the primary investigator will email the MSW participant a link to the online surveycontaining the assent form and all measures. The email will encourage the participant tocomplete the survey in a private and quiet space, and will remind the participant that thesurvey is anonymous. The research timing will be exactly two weeks from the time of sending out the request letters to the time of compiling the completed questionnaires. All the subjects who will not have submitted their completed questionnaires will receive an email reminder so that the research is complete on the stipulated timelines. Upon completion of the online survey, the survey will direct the participants to a page that will thank the participant for completing the survey.


The secondary investigator will conduct a content analysis of survey responses to identify themes. Thematic analysis will be used to guide the analysis. Thematic analysis entails examining the major causes of a phenomenon by looking at the similarity of data (Raffaelli & Green, 2003). Once all the data is collected the secondary investigator will see if Latinos responded differently from other ethnic groups.

Study Invitation Email

The email will read as follows:

Hello, my name is Jessica Ramos, and I am a graduate student here at California State

University, Dominguez Hills. With the permission from the Master of Social Work department, the IRB, and the administrator office, I am contacting you to invite you to participate in a research study I am conducting for my capstone project. This study examines where MSW students ages (18-40) learned about safe sex while growing up. A focus of the study is identifying what individuals wished their parents communicated to them about safe sex. The study is completed online, at your leisure, and takes approximately 30-45 minutes.

Reminder Email

Dear [Name]:
Two weeks ago, you received an e-mail message inviting you to participate in a research study I am conducting for my capstone project by filling out a web-based survey. If you have filled out the survey, thank you!

If you have not had a chance to take the survey yet, I would appreciate you reading the message below and completing the survey. This survey should take no more than 30-45 minutes to complete.

To take the web-based survey, click on

Thank you for your time!

Jessica Ramos

Safe Sex Communication Survey

Demographic Background

  1. Age:________
  1. Sex:
  1. Female
  2. Male
  3. Transgender
  1. Were you sexually active as a teenager? If so, what age? ___________________.
  1. Are your parents religious? If so, what religion? _________________________.
  1. Ethnic group background/identification_________________________________.
  1. Parents’ marital status: Single     Cohabiting Engaged      Married      Separated                                                                                   Divorced                  Widowed
  1. If parents are divorced, how old were you, when they divorced?  _________
  1. Where did you spend the majority of your formative years (from ages 13-18)?
  1. United States (which state?) ________________       
  2.  Other country (which?) _________________________
  3. What County? _________________________

Sexual Communication

The following questions will ask you to describe the nature of sexual communication between parent/guardian(s) and their teenage children. Remember: You have the option to skip any question you do not wish to answer.

1.) What does open communication about safe sex with parents look like? Please respond with a short answer.

2.) Did you and your parents have open communication about safe sex when you were an adolescent?

2a.) If not, what was the most upsetting part about not having an open communication about safe sex with your parent’s? Please respond with a short answer.

2b.) If yes, what was the most rewarding part of having an open communication with your parents about safe sex? Please respond with a short answer.

3.) If you DID communicate with your parents, what made it possible for your parents to discuss sex and sexuality?  Please respond with a short answer.

4.) If you DID NOT communicate with your parents, why do you think your parents did not have a discussion about safe sex and sexuality with you? Please respond with a short answer.

5.) In general, what issues/factors make communication about safe sex with parents difficult? Please respond with a short answer.


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