Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Kathy Shadle James, DNSc, MSN, RN, Chair; Jane M. Georges, PhD, MS, RN; Gloria Johnston, PhD


adolescents, Interpersonal communication, nursing, parent-adolescent communication, perception, teenage pregnancy


Identification of adolescent perceptions of parent-adolescent communication, a significant factor in family functioning and connectedness, is important if effective interventions are to be provided by health care professionals related to decreasing the number as well as the adverse effects of adolescent pregnancy in the United States. The purpose of this descriptive, non-experimental, triangulated study was to examine the relationship between the perceived quality and effectiveness of parent-adolescent communication and pregnancy from the perspective of pregnant adolescent women in the Banning/Beaumont area of southern California. The theoretical framework for this study was based on adolescent and family developmental theories, family communication theory, and health-behavior theory. The convenience sample of 56 pregnant female subjects was obtained from four sites in the Banning/Beaumont area of southern California including Banning High School, the Family Care Center, Dr. Yoo's Clinic, and Rancho Paseo Medical Group Clinic. The data was collected on site at each location during school hours or after a prenatal clinic appointment. The research design allowed for collection of data from fifty-six subjects utilizing the Parent Adolescent Communication Scale (PAC) (Olson et al, 1985), a demographic questionnaire, and audio-taped interviews to capture personal feelings and perspectives of adolescents related to parent-adolescent communication patterns, which were used to further describe the PAC scores. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the sample and the study variables. Individual PAC scores for adolescents related to their mothers and adolescents related to their fathers were tabulated and compared with established norms set up by the PAC scale. A descriptive comparison was made between each demographic variable and adolescent-mother and adolescent-father PAC scores. Each comparison was discussed and interpreted. A Pearson correlation was run for the demographic characteristic “age” and the PAC scores for adolescents related to their mothers and fathers. A t-test was performed between the PAC scores of adolescents related to their mothers and adolescents related to their fathers. Qualitative interview data identified six major themes. Conclusions drawn from the findings indicate that adolescent perceptions of communication between adolescents and their parents in Banning, CA are very poor. Adolescent perceptions of communication with their mothers are considerably lower than with their PAC normed counterpart adolescents. Adolescent perceptions of communication between these adolescents and their fathers are much more troubled than communication between PAC normed adolescents related to their fathers. The t-test confirms statistical significance that adolescents score much lower on their perceptions of communication with their fathers (46.1) than in their communication with their mothers (56.26). The qualitative data documents patterns of poor communication, a perception that pregnancy increases adolescent-parent communication and relationships, and poor family connectedness. Recommendations were made for further research.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons