|When it comes to sexual behaviour, teenagers are more influenced by their parents than their peers, according to a survey conducted by CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre, which is affiliated with the University of Montreal. (Shutterstock)
When it comes to sexual behaviour, teenagers are more influenced by their parents than their peers, a national survey says.
And the sexual exploits of Katy Perry barely influence Canadian youth at all.
The survey, conducted by CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre, which is affiliated with the University of Montreal, shows 45% of teens consider their parents to be their "sexuality role models," while just 32% look to friends and 15% to celebrities.
What's more, those teens who follow their parents' example come from households where sexual issues are openly discussed. Those kids also displayed a greater awareness of the risks associated with sex, including sexually transmitted infections.
"Good communication within families and especially around sexual-health issues is associated with more responsible behaviours," said lead researcher Dr. Jean-Yves Frappier.
But parents underestimate their own influence. The survey polled teenagers' mothers, and found 78% believe their children modelled their friends' sexual behaviour.
"Parents seem to underestimate their role and the impact that they have," Frappier said. "Health professionals and the media have an important role to play in empowering parents and enabling them to increase their communications with their children with regards to sexual-health issues."
The survey involved 1,139 mothers of teenagers and 1,171 teens between 14 and 17.