Background: Parent-child sexual health communication is a well-documented protective factor against early sexual debut and other sexual risk behaviors. Yet, little is known about communication between single, African American mother-early adolescent son dyads. To address this, a mixed method, qualitative dominant, study design was used to explore the dynamics of sexual health communication between single African-American mothers and their early adolescent sons aged 11-14 years old.
Methods: Mothers and sons, recruited from community health fairs and after-school programs, participated in separate in-depth semi-structured interviews to explore mother-son sexual health communication and sons completed a brief survey about sexual activity.
Results: Mothers and sons expressed both comforts and discomforts with communication. Most mothers and sons reported high connectedness and felt comfortable talking with their sons about sex. Most sons agreed with the content of the sexual health message reported by their mothers, identified their mothers as approachable, and some sons reported that they would talk with their mothers before they started having sex. Mothers report providing a twoprong message to delay sexual debut and use condoms when sexually active and a strong desire to have their son disclose his intentions to sexually debut in order to facilitate sexual health decision-making and provide access to condoms. Findings from this study provide preliminary descriptive data that can be used by providers to facilitate parent-child sexual health communication during early adolescence and prior to a child's sexual debut.