Parenting influences on adolescent sexual risk-taking: Differences by child welfare placement status

Marina Haddock Potter, Sarah A. Font

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Positive parenting behaviors and parent-child relationships reduce sexual risk-taking among youth, but these associations may differ for adolescents in the child welfare system. Using two cohorts of a national longitudinal dataset of youth, the authors employed linear probability modeling to investigate associations of caregiver-child closeness, monitoring, and dating communication with youth's sexual initiation, sexual partners, and unprotected intercourse over the subsequent 12 months. Moderation by placement status (non-relative foster care, kinship care, or birth parent care) was then tested. Closeness was negatively associated with risk-taking. Monitoring was positively associated with new sexual partners among youth in birth parent care, but negatively associated with new partners for youth in out-of-home care. Dating communication was positively associated with sexual initiation and additional sexual partners, and with unsafe sex among non-relative foster youth. In sum, caregiver relationships and parenting behaviors may matter differently for maltreated and foster youths’ sexual risk-taking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-144
Number of pages11
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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