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Direct and indirect parent-child sex communication: Associations with condom use self-efficacy and condom use among Black and White college students Open Access

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In response to existing sexual health disparities among college students, the current study examined the influence of both direct and indirect parent-child sex communication on condom use self-efficacy and condom use within a sample of 133 Black and 252 White college students (60% female; Mean age = 19.6 years) from one predominantly White university and several historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Participants completed an online survey, and this study included only those who indicated a history of vaginal sex, resulting in a mostly straight sample (91.6%). Participants reported that mothers provided more direct and indirect sex communication than fathers, and female and Black participants reported higher rates of direct sex communication with parents. No gender differences in the receipt of indirect sex communication were found; however, within the three subscales of indirect sex communication, Black participants reported observing less expression of affection toward a significant other compared to White participants. Further, the associations between indirect and direct sex communication and condom use were mediated by condom use self-efficacy, thus extending previous research solely focused on direct sex communication. Based on these findings, interventions aimed at improving parent-child sex communication should take into account the gender and racial composition of families in order to increase potential effectiveness, as well as to be more culturally appropriate.

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