Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Department of Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Betsy Bach

Commitee Members

Annie Sondag, Joel Iverson


children, communication, parents, puberty, sex, training


University of Montana


The purpose of this study was to construct a training program for parents of 4th and 5th grade children on how to initiate and maintain conversations about safe-sex and sex-related topics by using Beebe, Mottet, and Roach’s (2013) Needs-Centered Training Model. The main topics arising from the needs assessment include experiencing puberty, healthy friendships, and peer pressure/media influence. The need for better communication surrounding sex can be seen from rates of teenage pregnancy in the United States remaining higher than those of other developed countries (Martinez, Copen, & Abma, 2011) as well as adolescents accounting for only a quarter of the sexually active population, but half of the population acquiring new STDs (Martinez, Copen, & Abma, 2011). Although this study does not address pregnancy and STD prevention, it encourages parents to initiate open conversation with their children about sex-related topics and to maintain this conversation so future topics (such as those concerning participating in sex) are more comfortable for both parent and child. Providing parents with information on important and age-appropriate topics for their children, as well as how to best initiate and maintain open and honest communication, can better equip parents to feel prepared for conversations with children that encourage them to act responsibly when it comes to sex-related situations in the future.



© Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Kay Eickhoff