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Campaign spurs parents to talk about sex

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., June 8 (UPI) -- A national advertising campaign successfully encouraged parents to initiate conversations about sex and abstinence with their children, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the June issue of Journal of Adolescent Health, found four weeks after exposure to the ad campaign, fathers initiated more conversations with their children about sex than they had previously.

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Researchers at The George Washington University and RTI International said that after six months, both fathers and mothers who were exposed to the campaign were more likely to recommend specifically to their children to wait to become sexually active.

"We found that abstinence messaging delivered to parents through mass media is efficacious in promoting parenting-child communication about sex and thus may be an effective public health strategy," study co-author Kevin Davis, a senior researcher at RTI, said in a statement. "The pattern of initiation of conversations about sex at four weeks post-baseline and then recommendations to their child to wait at six months post-baseline among fathers is significant."

The campaign, which began in June 2007, used public service announcements as well as paid television, radio, print and outdoor announcements.

The study included nearly 1,500 parents of children ages 10-14 who were randomly assigned to experiment conditions -- receiving exposure or no exposure to campaign ads and materials.

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