Parental involvement in sexuality education: advancing understanding through an analysis of findings from the 2010 Irish Contraception and Crisis Pregnancy Survey

Sexuality education research has highlighted the importance of parental involvement. Investigating sexuality education frequently occurs via national sexual health surveys. Understanding the factors that influence parents in engaging in sexuality education would benefit from advances in research design and methods. This paper aims to identify key parental characteristics that predict parental involvement in sexuality education while also encouraging debate on how this topic is optimally investigated. Data were a subset from a nationally representative cross-sectional telephone survey of adults (18-45 years) living in Ireland (N=3002). Parents (21-45 years) of a child/children aged 6 years or older at the time of the study (n=966) were included in analyses. Results using propensity score analysis found that parents who reported engaging in sexuality education with their children were more likely to be women, aged 36-45 years, and have a larger number of children. Advancing the field of sexuality education research could be facilitated by the application of the survey method and advanced statistical techniques used here. Furthermore, a stand-alone national survey assessing parental involvement in sexuality education would be a worthy contribution to this knowledge base.