The goal of this study is to enhance the mother's role in promoting avoidance of sexual
risks and problem behaviors in 6- to 12-year-old children. Consenting mothers will attend a
10-session program designed to enhance the quality of mother-child communication, identify
sexual risks, and increase parental monitoring and self-efficacy.
This study will identify personal, parental, peer, and community factors that predispose
children ages 6 to 12 to early initiation of sexual behavior or that foster resilience to
sexual risk taking. The study will then evaluate an intervention designed to enhance
resilience factors and reduce risk factors among 6- to 12-year-old children. The study will
focus on the mother’s role in promoting resilience to sexual risk taking.
During the first phase of the study, 300 children and their mothers will be asked to
complete a one-time interview that includes an assessment of risk and resilience factors.
Information from the interviews will be used to modify an intervention currently being used
in another study of parent-adolescent pairs. The modified intervention will then be tested
to determine the efficacy of the intervention in reducing risk and enhancing resilience
among children in this age group.
In the second phase of the study, 296 children and their mothers will be randomized to
either the intervention or control group. All mothers will complete a baseline interview.
Mothers in the intervention group will attend 10 group sessions that include short
presentations, discussions, media presentations (videotapes), and interactive exercises,
including self-assessments, role plays, and games. The group sessions include content and
skill development related to parenting, communication, sexuality, peer pressure, and school
involvement. Mothers in the control group receive written information on diet and physical
activity. The written materials are presented in a self-help format to increase physical
activity; a cookbook contains low fat recipes designed especially for African American men
and women living in the Atlanta, GA, area.
All participants complete follow-up interviews at 6 and 12 months after the baseline
interview. Primary outcomes for mothers include measures of resilience and communication
related to sexual issues. For children, outcomes include measures related to possible
- Member of a participating community-based organization
- Child 6 to 12 years of age and biological mother/legal guardian
- Ability to read and comprehend English
- Willing to participate