Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 5–20 | Cite as

Why Parents Matter!: The Conceptual Basis for a Community-Based HIV Prevention Program for the Parents of African American Youth

  • Patricia Dittus
  • Kim S. Miller
  • Beth A. Kotchick
  • Rex Forehand


The Parents Matter! Program (PMP) is a community-based family intervention designed to promote positive parenting and effective parent-child communication about sexuality and sexual risk reduction. Its ultimate goal is to reduce sexual risk behavior among adolescents. PMP offers parents instruction and guidance in general parenting skills related to decreased sexual risk behavior among youth (e.g., relationship building, monitoring) and sexual communication skills necessary for parents to effectively convey their values and expectations about sexual behavior—as well as critical HIV, STD, and pregnancy prevention messages—to their children. We briefly review the literature concerning parental influences on adolescent sexual risk behavior and present the conceptual model and theoretical foundation upon which PMP is based.

Parents Matter! Program conceptual model parenting influences adolescent sexual risk behavior 


  1. Alan Guttmacher Institute. (1994). Sex and America's teenagers. New York: Author.Google Scholar
  2. Armistead, L., Clark, H., Barber, C. N., Hugley, B. A., Dorsey, S., & Favors, M. (2004). Participant retention in the Parents Matter! Program: Strategies and outcome. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 13, 67-80.Google Scholar
  3. Ball, J. B., Pelton, J., & Forehand, R. (2004). Methodological overview of the Parents Matter! Program. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 13, 21-34.Google Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1975). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  5. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  6. Barber, B. K., Olsen, J. E., & Shagle, S. C. (1994). Associations between parental psychological and behavioral control and youth internalized and externalized behaviors. Child Development, 65, 1120-1136.Google Scholar
  7. Bauman, K. E., Ennett, S. T., Foshee, V. A., Pemberton, M., King, T. S., & Koch, G. G. (2002). Influence of a family program on adolescent smoking and drinking prevalence. Prevention Science, 3, 35-42.Google Scholar
  8. Baumrind, D. (1991). Effective parenting during the early adolescent transition. In P.A. Cowan & E.M. Hetherington (Eds.), Family transitions (pp. 111-163). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  9. Burstein, G. R., Gaydos, C. A., Diener-West, M., Howell, M. R., Zenilman, J. M., & Quinn, T. C. (1998). Incident Chlamydia trachomatis infections among inner-city adolescent females. Journal of the American Medical Association, 280, 521-526.Google Scholar
  10. Carabasi, J. M., Greene, W., & Bernt, F. (1992). Preliminary findings from the Survey about AIDS for Seventh and Eighth Graders (SASEG). AIDS Education and Prevention, 4, 240-250.Google Scholar
  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1998). HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 9, (No. 2), 1-43.Google Scholar
  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2001). HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 13(1).Google Scholar
  13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2002). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance United States, 2001. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summary, 51(SS04), 1-62.Google Scholar
  14. Dittus, P., & Jaccard, J. (2000). The relationship of adolescent perceptions of maternal disapproval of sex and of the mother-adolescent relationship to sexual outcomes. Journal of Adolescent Health, 26, 268-278.Google Scholar
  15. Dittus, P. J., Jaccard, J., & Gordon, V. V. (1999). Direct and non-direct communication of maternal beliefs to adolescents: Adolescent motivation for premarital sexual activity. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 29, 1927-1963.Google Scholar
  16. Dutra, R., Miller, K. S., & Forehand, R. (1999). The process and content of sexual communication with adolescents in two-parent families: Associations with sexual risk-taking behavior. AIDS and Behavior, 3, 59-66.Google Scholar
  17. Elmquist, D. L. (1995). A systematic review of parent-oriented programs to prevent children's use of alcohol and other drugs. Journal of Drug Education, 23, 251-279.Google Scholar
  18. Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  19. Forehand, R., & Kotchick, B. A. (1996). Cultural diversity: A wake-up call for parent training. Behavior Therapy, 27, 187-206.Google Scholar
  20. Howell, M. R., Quinn, T. A., & Gaydos, C. A. (1998). Screening for Chlamydia trachomatis in asymptomatic women attending family planning clinics: A cost-effectiveness analysis of three strategies. Annals of Internal Medicine, 128, 277-284.Google Scholar
  21. Institute of Medicine. (1997). The Hidden Epidemic: Confronting Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  22. Jaccard, J. Dittus, P. J., & Gordon, V. V. (1998). Parent-adolescent congruency in reports of adolescent sexual behavior and in communications about sexual behavior. Child Development, 69, 247-261.Google Scholar
  23. Jessor, R., Donovan, J. E., & Costa, F. M. (1991). Beyond adolescence: Problem behavior and young adult development. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Jessor, R., & Jessor, S. (1977). Problem behavior and psychosocial development: A longitudinal study of youth. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kaiser Family Foundation (1999). Kids ready to talk about today's tough issues before their parents are: Sex, AIDS, violence and drugs/alcohol. Available: http://www/ Retrieved: March 1, 1999.Google Scholar
  26. Karofsky, P., Zeng, L., & Kosorok, M. R. (2000). Relationship between adolescent-parental communication and initiation of first intercourse by adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 28, 41-45.Google Scholar
  27. Kirby, D., Short, L., Collins, J., Rugg, D., Kolbe, L., Howard, M., Miller, B., Sonenstein, F., & Zahn, L. S. (1994). School-based programs to reduce sexual risk behaviors: A review of effectiveness. Public Health Reports, 109, 339-360.Google Scholar
  28. Kotchick, B. A., Dorsey, S., Miller, K. S., & Forehand, R. (1999). Adolescent sexual risk-taking behavior in a single-parent ethnic minority families. Journal of Family Psychology, 13, 93-102.Google Scholar
  29. Kotchick, B. A., Forehand, R. (2002). Putting parenting in perspective: A discussion of the contextual factors that shape parenting practices. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 11, 255-269.Google Scholar
  30. Kotchick, B. A., Shaffer, A., Dorsey, S., & Forehand, R. (in press). Parenting antisocial children and adolescents. In M. Hoghughi & N. Long (Eds.), SAGE handbook of parenting. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  31. Kotchick, B. A., Shaffer, A., Forehand, R., & Miller, K. (2001). Adolescent sexual risk behavior: A multi-system perspective. Clinical Psychology Review, 21, 493-519.Google Scholar
  32. Leland, N., & Barth, R. (1993). Characteristics of adolescents who have attempted to avoid HIV and who have communicated with parents about sex. Journal of Adolescent Research, 8, 58-76.Google Scholar
  33. Li, X., Feigelman, S., & Stanton, B. (2000). Perceived parental monitoring and health risk behaviors among urban low-income African-American children and adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 27, 43-48.Google Scholar
  34. Long, N., Austin, B. J., Kelly, A., Gardner, A., Dunn, R., Gound, M., Blacknall, S., & Miller, K. (2004). The PMP interventions: Content and the facilitation process. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 13, 47-65.Google Scholar
  35. Luster, T., & Small, S. A. (1994). Factors associated with sexual risk-taking behaviors among adolescents. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 56, 622-632.Google Scholar
  36. Miller, B. C., Norton, M. C., Fan, I., & Christopherson, C. R. (1998). Pubertal development, parental communication, and sexual values in relation to adolescent sexual behavior. Journal of Early Adolescence, 18, 27-52.Google Scholar
  37. Miller, K. S., Clark, L. F., & Moore, J. S. (1997). Sexual initiation with older male partners and subsequent HIV risk behavior among female adolescents. Family Planning Perspectives, 29, 212-214.Google Scholar
  38. Miller, K. S., Forehand, R., & Kotchick, B. (1999). Adolescent sexual behavior in two ethnic minority samples: The role of family variables. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 85-98.Google Scholar
  39. Miller, K. S., Kotchick, B. A., Dorsey, S., Forehand, R., & Ham, A. Y. (1998). Family communication about sex: What are parents saying and are their adolescents listening? Family Planning Perspectives, 30, 218-222.Google Scholar
  40. Miller, K. S., Levin, M. L., Whitaker, D. J., & Xu, X. (1998). Patterns of condom use among adolescents: The impact of mother-adolescent communication. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 1542-1544.Google Scholar
  41. Minnis, A. M., & Padian, N. S. (2001). Choice of female-controlled barrier methods among young women and their male sexual partners. Family Planning Perspectives, 33, 28-34.Google Scholar
  42. Murry, V. M., Kotchick, B., Wallace, S., Ketchen, B., Eddings, K., Heller, L., & Collier, I. (2004). Race, culture, and ethnicity: Implications for a community intervention. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 13, 81-99.Google Scholar
  43. Pick, S., & Palos, P. A. (1995). Impact of the family on the sex lives of adolescents. Adolescence, 30, 667-675.Google Scholar
  44. Rodgers, K. B. (1999). Parenting processes related to sexual risk-taking behaviors of adolescent males and females. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 99-109.Google Scholar
  45. Romer, D., Black, M., Ricardo, I., Feigelman, S., Kaljee, L., Galbraith, J., Nesbit, R., Hornik, R., & Stanton, B. (1994). Social influences on the sexual behavior of youth at risk for HIV exposure. American Journal of Public Health, 84, 977-985.Google Scholar
  46. Rosenberg P. S., Biggar R. J., & Goedert J. J. (1994). Declining age at HIV infection in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 330, 789-790.Google Scholar
  47. Scaramella, L. V., Conger, R. D., Simons, R. L., & Whitbeck, L. B. (1998). Predicting risk for pregnancy by late adolescence: A social contextual perspective. Developmental Psychology, 34, 1233-1245.Google Scholar
  48. Secrest, L., Lassiter, S., Armistead, L. P., Wycoff, S., Johnson, J., Bryant Williams, W., & Kotchick, B. A. (2004). The Parents Matter! Program: Building a successful investigator-community partnership. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 13, 35-45.Google Scholar
  49. Seligman, C. K., Mukai, T., Woods, T., & Alfeld, C. (1995). Parents' contributions to children's knowledge and attitudes regarding AIDS: Another look. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 20, 61-77.Google Scholar
  50. Shrier, L. A., Goodman, E., & Emans, S. J. (1999). Partner condom use among adolescent girls with sexually transmitted diseases. Journal of Adolescent Health, 24, 357-361.Google Scholar
  51. Steinberg, L. (1987). Familial factors in delinquency: A developmental perspective. Journal of Adolescent Research, 2, 255-268.Google Scholar
  52. The Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2002). The implementation of the Fast Track Program: An example of a large-scale prevention science efficacy trial. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30, 1-17.Google Scholar
  53. Tubman, J. G., Windle, M., & Windle, R. C. (1996). The onset and cross-temporal patterning of sexual intercourse in middle adolescence: Prospective relations with behavioral and emotional problems. Child Development, 67, 327-343.Google Scholar
  54. Wagstaff, D. A., Delameter, J. D., & Havens, K. K. (1999). Subsequent infection among adolescent African-American males attending a sexually transmitted disease clinic. Journal of Adolescent Health, 25, 217-226.Google Scholar
  55. Whitaker, D. J., & Miller, K. S. (2000). Parent-adolescent discussions about sex and condoms. Journal of Adolescent Research, 15, 251-273.Google Scholar
  56. Whitaker, D. J., Miller, K. S., May, D. C., & Levin, M. L. (1999). Teenage partners' communication about sexual risk and condom use: Importance of parent-teenager communication. Family Planning Perspectives, 31, 117-121.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Dittus
    • 1
  • Kim S. Miller
    • 2
  • Beth A. Kotchick
    • 3
  • Rex Forehand
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Adolescent and School HealthCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlanta
  2. 2.Division of HIV/AIDS PreventionCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlanta
  3. 3.Psychology DepartmentLoyola College in MarylandBaltimore
  4. 4.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of VermontBurlington
  5. 5.Institute for Behavioral ResearchUniversity of GeorgiaAthens

Personalised recommendations