Carl Sneed: Psychologist Receives Grant for Research on Parent-Child Communication About Sexual Behaviors
Dr. Carl Sneed, associate professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills received a two-year grant effective April 1 from the California HIV/AIDS Research Program in the amount of $231,352. The award will fund his project titled “Parents and Children Talking: A Text-Message Intervention,” which examines the role of text-messages in helping parents to talk to their adolescent children about sex.
“Research shows that children who talk to their parents about sex are less likely to have sex and if they do, they’re more likely to use condoms or protection,” says Sneed. “It delays first sex and it can help in making it safe.”
The project will test a method of intervention where parents and their children will receive text messages. The parents’ messages will address tips on how to approach the subject of sex with their children; their children will receive direct messaging about abstinence and safe sex.
“You want [children] to have messages that limit their sexual behavior,” Sneed says. “Not as a judgment, but we know that a 15-year-old isn’t emotionally ready to have a sex life. We’re trying to avoid the psychological consequences of early sexual behavior as well as the health consequences.”
Sneed will hire approximately 10 students – who will be paid a stipend from the grant - to assist him in research methods including data collection and running focus groups. The data will be acquired with the participation of members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Long Beach with whom Sneed worked on a project two years ago that looked at the role of family and culture in relationship to STD and HIV risk and communication about sex among African American and Latino families.
Sneed is hopeful that the ease with which a parent can receive a text message will help to facilitate more open communication between them and their children about sex.
“A lot of parents who could benefit from interventions to help them talk to their children about sex and other health issues just don’t have the time because they’re busy,” he says. “They have a 40-hour work week and then you want them to spend 16 sessions learning how to talk to their children about sex [with] a whole multitude of issues.
“It’s kind of interesting because we’re going to... create an intervention that allows more people to have access to it,” he says. “It’s as easy as receiving a telephone call.”
An expert on adolescent sexual behavior and health risks among underserved populations, Sneed has had a number of articles published in scholarly journals including “Evaluation of a School-Based Intervention for HIV/AIDS Prevention Among Belizean Adolescents” in Health Education Research and “Indices of lifetime Polydrug Use Among Adolescents” in the Journal of Adolescence.
For more information on the psychology department at CSU Dominguez Hills, click here.
- Joanie Harmon