Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 589–597 | Cite as

A Moderated Mediation Model of Parent–Child Communication, Risk Taking, Alcohol Consumption, and Sexual Experience in Early Adulthood

  • Cassandra AlexopoulosEmail author
  • Jaeho Cho
Original Paper


The relationship between risk-taking personality and health-risk behaviors has been widely established, where people who like to take risks are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors such as having multiple casual partners and having unprotected sex. Drawing on a national U.S. sample from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, the present study examined the relationship between risk-taking personality and sexual experience among adults in early adulthood, and the role of family (parent–child) communication in moderating this relationship. Findings indicated that, for both males and females, the effect of risk taking on sexual experience through alcohol use dissipated at high levels of father–child communication. However, mother–child communication did not have such moderating effects. Implications for the way in which we study parent–child communication are discussed.


Risk taking Parent–child communication Sexual behavior Alcohol use 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

For this type of study, formal consent is not required. The current study uses public data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) and therefore does not currently rely on human participation. More information on how the data were initially collected is described in this paper, and can also be found at


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Communication DepartmentUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA
  2. 2.Communication DepartmentUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA

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