Values that Fathers Communicate to Sons about Sex, Sexuality, Relationships, and Marriage

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Tanya M. Coakley, Professor (Creator)
Jeffrey K. Shears, Professor and Director of JMSW Program (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: African American males between ages 13 and 24 are disproportionately affected by unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS; indeed, they account for 50% of HIV infections among all youth. Clear communication between parents and their youth about sex is associated with higher rates of sexual abstinence, condom use, and intent to delay initiation of sexual intercourse, which can prevent STIs and unintended pregnancy. However, barriers exist for parents to educate their youth about sexual health. The purpose of this article is to explore the values fathers communicate to their sons to prevent their risky sexual behaviors that lead to STIs, HIV, and adolescent parenthood. This was a qualitative study conducted from May and June 2015. African American fathers (N = 29) who had sons, ages 10 to 15 years, participated in five focus groups across metropolitan and rural North Carolina communities in barbershops. A qualitative content analysis revealed four themes regarding areas that fathers imparted their values onto their sons to protect them from sexual health risks: (a) sex, (b) sexuality, (c) relationships, and (d) marriage. The findings have implications for social work and public health practice.

Additional Information

Social Work in Public Health, 32(5), 355-368
Language: English
Date: 2017
Youth HIV Prevention, father-son communication, minority health disparities, youth sexual health

Email this document to