Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Richard Walsh-Bowers

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Family sexual health communication is an important area to examine due to the high-risk sexual behaviours that some youth engage in and the influential role that parents can play in teaching and shaping sexual health values. Yet few research studies on family sexual health communication include sons as participants and even fewer include fathers. In this study I attempted to contribute to the literature by examining the perspective of fathers in terms of sexual health communication with their pre-adolescent sons. Eight fathers from Southwestern Ontario with sons between the ages of eight and twelve took part in a qualitative study that involved journal-writing and personal interviews. Participants shared information in terms of talking to their sons about sexual health, perceived gender differences between mothers and fathers and girls and boys, and the experiences they had growing up and learning about sexual health. In general, these fathers tended to focus on communicating about sexual intercourse in particular, and verbal communication appeared to be the primary means of delivering information to their sons. As well, these fathers did not appear to have received a lot of sexual health information growing up, and in most cases, the fathers of these participants had not talked with them about sexual health. All fathers in this study commented on their desire for their son to have a different experience than they had learning about sexual health, and those who attempted to normalize this topic may have been more successful in creating a social climate for open dialogue. I also discussed issues of gender discrepancy and a potential cultural shift in the role of the father. I addressed these findings in relation to family communication in general, made recommendations for future research, and offered suggestions as to how the community can support father-son sexual health communication.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Psychology Commons