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Improving adolescent reproductive health through online family engagement: testing the "Parents are TALKING" website

Aletha Akers, The Children's Hospital of Philadlephia

Project abstract

Over the past decade, our team has worked with families to develop interventions to improve how parents communicate with adolescents about sexual health issues. In recent years, parents have increasingly asked that content be delivered online. Parents report that as families' schedules have become busier, it is difficult to attend in-person programs. Parents want a convenient, reliable resource for teaching and co-learning with their adolescent. They want this resource to provide access to experts who can answer parents' and adolescents' questions, provide social support to parents as they help their adolescents navigate the early years of their sexual development, and link families with adolescent-friendly reproductive health care services. Parents' preference for an online learning tool reflects a growing trend as more parents - many of whom were raised in the digital era - are going online to find information to help ensure their children's health. We have heard parents loud and clear. With funding from the Society of Family Planning Interdisciplinary Innovation (SFP-I2) grant, we recently worked with a multidisciplinary team to develop a website to improve family communication about sex. The website's mission is to improve adolescent reproductive health by promoting open, honest family communication, educate parents about adolescents' need for reproductive services, and link adolescents with these services. With this proposal, we seek funding to make the website available to parents in a large, pediatric primary care health system and assess parental utilization of this resource and the website's impact on the frequency and comfort of parental communication.

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