How Parenting Can Impact the Sexual Behavior of Women College Students

A new study led by Lisa M. Bohen, a professor of psychology at California State University, Sacramento, found that college women who were disengaged from their parents were more likely to participate in risky behaviors.

The authors conjectured that young women who grow up in unstable environments often develop low expectations for the future and remain focused on current gratification. This attitude can lead to risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol use and risky sexual behavior.

The authors conducted an experiment with a large group of women. The women were asked to recall a moment when a parent was either disengaged with them or a time when a parent was engaged with the participant. Participants were then surveyed measuring their sexual attitudes, sexual intentions, and biographical information.

Women who recalled a time when their parents were disengaged were in turn more likely to participate in sexually risky behavior than women who chose to recall a time when their parents were actively engaged with them.

Dr. Bohen is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where she majored in psychology. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in social/personality psychology from the University of California, Riverside.

The full study, “The Effects of Manipulated and Biographical Parent Disengagement on the Sexually Risky Attitudes and Intentions of College Women,” was published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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