Parents Matter: Associations Between Parent Connectedness and Sexual Health Indicators Among Transgender and Gender‐Diverse Adolescents

Camille Brown, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Marla E. Eisenberg, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Barbara J. McMorris, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Renee E. Sieving, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

First published online:

| DOI: https://doi.org/10.1363/psrh.12168
Abstract / Summary

Transgender and gender‐diverse youth experience significant health disparities across numerous domains of health, including sexual health. Among general populations, parent connectedness has been strongly associated with youth sexual health.


The relationships between parent connectedness and sexual health indicators were investigated among 2,168 transgender and gender‐diverse youth who participated in the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey, a statewide population‐based survey of ninth‐ and 11th‐grade students. Multivariate logistic regression models, stratified by sex assigned at birth, tested associations between parent connectedness—youth's perceptions of parent caring and parent–youth communication—and eight sexual health indicators: ever having had sex, having multiple sexual partners in the past year, pregnancy involvement, substance use at last sex, partner communication about STI prevention, partner communication about pregnancy prevention, condom use at last sex and pregnancy prevention methods at last sex.


The level of parent connectedness was inversely associated with ever having had sex, regardless of sex assigned at birth (odds ratios, 0.6–0.8). Although level of connectedness was inversely associated with having multiple sexual partners in the past year and pregnancy involvement among transgender and gender‐diverse youth assigned male at birth (0.6–0.7), these relationships were nonsignificant among transgender and gender‐diverse youth assigned female at birth. Further differences in associations between parent connectedness and four sexual risk–reduction behaviors were found between youth assigned male at birth and those assigned female.


As with other populations, parent connectedness promotes sexual health among transgender and gender‐diverse youth and may provide a point of intervention.

Author's Affiliations

Camille Brown is postdoctoral interdisciplinary fellow, and Marla E. Eisenberg is professor, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, Medical School, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Barbara J. McMorris is associate professor, and Renee E. Sieving is professor, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.


The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Guttmacher Institute.