May 23, 2011


The Parent-Adolescent Relationship (PARE) Program focuses on preventing teen pregnancy and STDs by strengthening family communication, specifically communication regarding decision-making and knowledge of sexual issues. The PARE Program administers joint sessions with parents and middle school students that review communication techniques, decision-making strategies, and information regarding safe sex practices. Classes, administered by trained facilitators are held over a 4-week period, followed by three booster sessions over the course of two years. This study compared two modes of delivering PARE: a traditional didactic approach or an interactive approach using role-playing and practice of resistance skills. At the two-year follow-up, in the interactive group, parents were more likely to set rules, and students gained knowledge of pregnancy and HIV/STDs. Other differences were not found.


Target population: Middle school students, ages 11 to 15

The Parent-Adolescent Relationship Education (PARE) curriculum educates middle school students about making good decisions regarding sexual intercourse. This program is unique because it involves parents in the curriculum. Student and parent pairs participate in four sessions over a four week period where participants learn about changes that occur during puberty, healthy communication within families, risky sexual behaviors, and how to be responsible when engaging in sexual behavior. The sessions include role-play, practice exercises, and parent-child discussions. There are four to eight parent-child pairs in each session, and male and female students meet separately for the sessions. The sessions incorporate problem-solving and decision-making skills as well as role play to engage the participants. During the first half of each session, for 75 minutes, parents and youth attend a class separately. In the second half of the class, parents and youth attend a 75-minute class together. Three “booster” sessions are administered, one per semester, in the three semesters following the program, and these sessions are co-ed. These booster sessions are used to remind participants of the safe practices they learned during the initial program and to discuss communication skills, personal values, and dating practices, and they are administered by trained facilitators.


Lederman, R.P., Chan, W., Roberts-Gray, C. (2008). Parent-Adolescent Relationship Education (PARE): Program delivery to reduce risks for adolescent pregnancy and STDs. Behavioral Medicine, 33, 137-143.

Evaluated population: One hundred ninety-two parent-child dyads were randomly assigned to an Interactive Program (IP; n=90) or an Attention Control Program (ACP; n=102). Participants were recruited through the children’s schools and the students ranged in ages between 11 and 15 years old. Fifty-nine percent of students were female, 36 percent were Hispanic, 29 percent were African American, 24 percent were Caucasian, and 11 percent were Asian. Sixty-one percent of students lived in a two-parent household, 27 percent lived with a single parent, and 12 percent in other living arrangements. In most cases the parent participating in the study was the mother (82 percent).

Approach: Parent/adolescent pairs were randomly assigned to either the Interactive Program (IP) or the Attention Control program, which contained the same information, but was delivered in a traditional didactic manner.

The researchers administered surveys that were designed to measure the social and self-control constructs that were targeted by the program in middle school students. The questionnaire took 15 to 20 minutes to complete and included scales on frequency of communication with parents, comfort in communication with parents, parental rules, parent involvement in youth’s activities, valuing parents’ opinions, communication with peers, valuing peer opinions, knowledge about prevention, self-efficacy for prevention, and behavioral options for resisting pressure to have sex.

Results: The frequency of communication with parents decreased slightly over two years in both the IP and ACP groups, while the frequency of communication with friends about the same topics increased significantly. On average, students reported felling “somewhat comfortable” communicating with their parents, with no differences found between ACP and IP groups. Compared with the ACP group, the IP group showed greater increases in the extent to which parents set rules. In both groups, there was a decrease in the amount of parent involvement in youths’ activities. Students’ report of the importance of parents’ and friends’ influence on their decision-making remained about the same for both groups. When compared with the ACP group, students in the IP group showed an increase in knowledge about transmission of and protection against pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. No differences were found in youths’ self-efficacy for prevention.



Dr. Regina P. Lederman

University of Texas Medical Branch

301 University Blvd

Galveston, TX 77555-1029



Lederman, R.P., & Mian, T.S. (2003). The Parent-Adolescent Relationship Education Program: A curriculum for prevention of STDs and pregnancy in middle school youth. Behavioral Medicine, 29, 33-41.

Lederman, R.P., Chan, W., Roberts-Gray, C. (2008). Parent-Adolescent Relationship Education (PARE): Program delivery to reduce risks for adolescent pregnancy and STDs. Behavioral medicine, 33, 137-143.

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11), Adolescents (12-17), School-based, Parent or Family Component, Life Skills, STD/HIV/AIDS, Teen Pregnancy, Sexual Activity, Middle School, High School

Program information last updated 5/23/11.