Teens Say Parents Most Influence Their Decisions About Sex

Aug 28, 2012, 10:31 ET from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

New Survey Data of Teens and Adults Released

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teens say that parents (38%) most influence their decisions about sex—more than peers (22%), the media (9%), teachers and educators (4%), and others, according to a new survey commissioned by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.  Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) young people surveyed also say that it would be much easier for teens to delay sexual activity and avoid teen pregnancy if they were able to have more open, honest conversations about these topics with their parents.

Among parents of teens surveyed, nearly 8 in 10 (79%) say that if their children are having sex, they hope their children will talk to them so they can help ensure that birth control is used.

The telephone survey of 1,002 young people age 12-19 and 1,032 adults age 20 and older was conducted by Social Science Research Solutions, an independent company.  The survey is weighted to provide nationally representative estimates of both groups.  The margin of error for the surveys is +/-3.10 for teens and +/-3.05 for adults.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Abstinence and contraception.  93% of adults and 87% of teens think it is important for teens to be given a strong message about delaying sex.  However, most do not think that should be the only message—74% of adults wish young people were getting information about both abstinence and contraception rather than either/or.
  • Public Policy.  65% of adults believe federally funded programs designed to prevent teen pregnancy should provide teens with information about both birth control and postponing sex and 68% think their community needs more efforts to prevent teen pregnancy.  
  • Media.  77% of teens who have seen the MTV shows 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, say the shows help teens better understand the challenges of pregnancy and parenting.
  • Regret.  67% of teen girls and 53% of teen boys who have had sex wish they had waited longer.
  • Fatalism.  42% of teens say "it doesn't matter whether you use birth control or not, when it is your time to get pregnant it will happen."
  • Knowledge.  82% of teens say they have all the information they need to avoid an unplanned pregnancy yet many admit they know "little or nothing" about condoms (47%) and birth control pills (72%).

Complete survey results, including the wording of the questions asked, can be found in With One Voice 2012:  America's Adults and Teens Sound Off About Teen Pregnancy. 

Teen pregnancy and birth rates in the U.S. have declined by more than 40% since the early 1990s.  There have been declines in all 50 states and among all racial/ethnic groups.  Despite this impressive progress, however, nearly 3 in 10 teen girls in the U.S. get pregnant and the U.S. continues to have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world. 

Visit http://www.TheNationalCampaign.org/wov/ for more information on the With One Voice survey.

About The National Campaign: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families. Our specific strategy is to prevent teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults. We support a combination of responsible values and behavior by both men and women and responsible policies in both the public and private sectors. If we are successful, child and family well-being will improve.

SOURCE The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy