MONDAY, Aug. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A parent-targeted intervention can increase adolescent-reported frequency of parent-adolescent communication (PAC) about sexual and alcohol use behaviors, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in JAMA Network Open.

Carol A. Ford, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the impact of brief parent-targeted interventions delivered in primary care settings on PAC relating to sexual and alcohol use behaviors. A total of 118 parent-adolescent dyads were eligible and randomly assigned to either the sexual health intervention (38 dyads), the alcohol prevention intervention (40 dyads), or control (40 dyads). Parents in sexual health and alcohol prevention intervention groups received coaching to discuss written intervention materials encouraging PAC about sex or alcohol within two weeks. Parents in the control group received usual care.

The researchers found that adolescents in the sexual health intervention group reported a higher mean frequency score for PAC about sex than those in the control group (2.32 versus 1.79) four months after the intervention; similar results were seen for adolescents in the alcohol prevention intervention and control groups (2.93 versus 2.40). No difference was noted in parent-reported frequency scores for PAC about sex or alcohol by group.

“The paucity of existing primary care parent-targeted interventions needs to be addressed, with a focus on developing a portfolio of interventions that effectively address a range of adolescent health issues,” the authors write.

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