Intergenerational Communication and Sexual Activity within an Adolescent Peer Network

Deladem Kusi-Appouh, Cornell University
Eunice Rodriguez, Stanford University
Jennifer Tiffany, Cornell University
Josephine Allen, Cornell University
Lindy Williams, Cornell University

We complement conventional statistical methods with social network analysis to examine determinants of adolescent sexual activity and intergenerational communication. Our sample includes 126 adolescents (15-19 years) from a micropolitan/rural area in New York, recruited by their peers using Participant-Driven Recruitment (PDR). Bivariate results show that adolescents who communicated at least once during their lifetime with an adult about alcohol, drugs, pregnancy or sex were more likely to have had sex at least once. Similarly, those who communicated about alcohol, drugs, pregnancy, sex or STDs during the month preceding the study were more likely to have had sex during the same period. Multiple regression analyses suggest that, overall, being sexually active and being female were stronger predictors of intergenerational communication, for the two time measures. Diagrams of our peer network underscore the interrelations between adolescent sexual activity and health communication at individual, dyadic as well as structural levels.

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Presented in Poster Session 5