New US research has found that parents who communicate often and openly with their teens about sex could be encouraging them to practice safer sex later in life.

Carried out by Laura Padilla-Walker, a family life professor at Brigham Young University, the new study recruited 468 14 to 18-year-old teenagers and their mothers, plus 311 of their fathers, and followed them over a 10-year period.

Although previous research has suggested that parents can be an important source of sex education for their children, Padilla-Walker explains that little is known about how this type of communication changes between parents and children over time, and how these changes may affect teenage behaviors related to sexual risk.

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