“A Different Perspective”: Topics Discussed During African American Father-Daughter Sexual Health Communication

Olivia Kachingwe 1

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp. 226-248

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African American youth and young adults are disproportionately burdened by HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Although African American parent-child sexual health communication has been shown to reduce adolescent sexual risk-taking behavior, much more is known about mother-child and father-son sexual health communication than father-daughter sexual health communication. The current study explores what sexual health topics African American father-daughter dyads discuss with one another, and which topics are perceived to have the greatest impact on youths’ sexual risk behavior. Seven father-daughter dyads (N=7) and an additional five daughters (n=5) completed individual in-depth semi structured interviews. Daughters were aged 19-21 (M=20.3) years and fathers were aged 52-60 (M=56.7) years. Thematic analysis revealed five themes including: challenging topics to discuss, easy topics to discuss, topics on the continuum, desired topics of communication, and topics with greatest impact on behavior. Although participants shared that discussing sexual health is considered culturally taboo and can be challenging when criticized, several topics were easy to discuss universally, and several topics were both challenging and easy to discuss depending on the context of the conversation and depth of content covered. Sexual health communication was largely perceived as positively impacting daughters’ behaviors and daughters expressed wanting to have these conversations. Study findings can inform future intervention development by indicating which sexual health topics should be prioritized during father-daughter communication given their perceived positive impact. Future research is needed to explore how best to support father-daughter dyads in discussing sexual health topics perceived as challenging. 

Keywords: Father-daughter communication, sexual health, youth and young adults, health disparities, thematic analysis.