Development and Testing of the Parent-Child Sex Communication Inventory: A Multidimensional Assessment Tool for Parent and Adolescent Informants


parent-child relationship, sex communication, adolescents


Parent-child sex communication is a complex and multidimensional construct, and effective measurement tools that reflect this complexity are scarce. The purpose of this study was to develop and test an assessment tool of parent-child sex communication that reflects the multidimensional nature of the construct and which can be flexibly administered between both parent and adolescent informants. Using two large national samples from the United States involving adolescents (N = 2,044; Mage = 16.19, SD = 1.71) and unrelated parents of adolescents (N = 2,081), we psychometrically tested the Parent-Child Sex Communication Inventory (PCSCI). Validity evidence (i.e., construct, discriminant, convergent, and divergent) supported a 30-item measure that consisted of three overarching dimensions distributed along seven subscales: Frequency of sex communication (about sexual risk, about sex physiology, and about the positive aspects of sex); the Quality of sex communication (open communication versus parent controlled communication); and Child Managed sex communication (involving disclosure and secrecy). The PCSCI is an assessment tool for tapping multiple fundamental dimensions of parent-child sex communication that is quick and easy to administer. Further, it can be administered to both parent and adolescent informants. Therefore, it represents a significant methodological advancement for continuing research on parent-child sex communication.

Original Publication Citation

Rogers, A.A., Padilla-Walker, L.M, & *Hurst, J.L. (2020, onlinefirst). Development and testing of the Parent-Child Sex Communication Inventory: A multidimensional assessment tool for parent and adolescent informants. Journal of Sex Research. DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2020.1792398

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


The Journal of Sex Research




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor