The Influence of the Mother-Daughter Relationship on Mexican-Origin Adolescent Girls' Sexual Agency
AuthorVan Campen, Kali Saposnick
AdvisorRussell, Stephen T.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMexican-origin adolescent girls have some of the highest rates of unplanned teen pregnancy and births in the United States. Family ecological and feminist perspectives indicate that gender and sexual socialization processes contribute to girls' ability to promote their sexual health, yet little is known about how Mexican-origin girls develop sexual agency. In this culture, mothers are a primary socializing agent about sexuality in the family, and this study examined how mother-daughter sexual communication fostered or inhibited girls' sexual agency. The narrative method "scaffolded interviewing" was used to facilitate open talk about sexuality. Interviews were conducted with 25 girls ages 15-17 and separate interviews with mothers in a southwestern city, with a pilot study first conducted to refine the interview script. Mothers and daughters were asked reciprocal questions about what girls learned about sexuality from mothers and other contexts. The Listening Guide, a voice-based relational approach, was used to interpret the data. Analysis suggested that girls whose mothers provided more open and comprehensive sexual communication, and talked to them before puberty, felt more agentic to assert their needs for sexual safety. Girls who had infrequent, content-limited communication with mothers felt less able to manage fear-based school sex education messages and peer sexual exposure. Analysis of concordance between mothers' and daughters' narratives showed that different perceptions of what constitutes sex talk and sexual autonomy inhibited daughters' disclosure to mothers about sexual concerns. These findings suggest that mother-daughter relationships are critical for sexual health promotion. Implications for educators, practitioners, and families are discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Family & Consumer Sciences