Background. - The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians provide anticipatory guidance about sexual development and sexual abuse prevention. Objective. - To examine parents' expectations, comfort level, and experience discussing sexual development and sexual abuse prevention with pediatricians. Methods. - A consecutive sample of parents presenting for care at 9 pediatric offices completed a self-administered survey. The survey included demographic information and questions related to parents' expectations, past experience, and comfort discussing normal childhood sexuality and sexual abuse prevention with their children's provider. Analyses examined relationships with parental recall of provider discussion about these topics and demographic characteristics. Results. - Of the 605 parents offered participation, 536 responses (89%) were analyzed. Respondents were 83% mothers, 62% white, 23% Hispanic, 7% African American, 6% Asian, 2% "other," and 65% college graduates. Nearly all respondents (98%) indicated pediatricians should discuss normal sexuality, and 96% indicated physicians should discuss sexual abuse prevention. Most parents (77%) indicated both the parent and the doctor are responsible for introducing these topics. Over 90% of parents reported that they were comfortable discussing these topics. Only 45% of respondents reported their child's pediatrician had discussed normal sexuality, and 29% had discussed sexual abuse prevention. Logistic regression modeling found the highest rates of discussion for normal sexuality were among parents with older children and the highest rates of discussion for child sexual abuse prevention topics were for mothers and those with older children. Conclusions. - Pediatricians can discuss normal sexuality and sexual abuse prevention without fear of alienating parents.
- Anticipatory guidance
- Child sexual abuse prevention
- Child sexuality
- Primary care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health