According to a new survey 45 percent teenagers consider their parents to be their sexual role model more than their friends.
The results of the national online study also revealed that only 32 pc looked to their friends and just 15 pc took inspiration from celebrities.
Importantly, the survey, which involved 1139 mothers of teenagers and 1171 youths between 14 and 17 years of age, also indicated that many of the teenagers who look to their parents live in families where sexuality is openly discussed, and that moreover, teenagers in these families have a greater awareness of the risks and consequences of sexually transmitted infections.
"Good communication within families and especially around sexual health issues is associated with more responsible behaviours," said Dr. Jean-Yves Frappier, a researcher at the University of Montreal's affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre.
"Parents seem to underestimate their role and the impact that they have," noted Frappier.
"Health professionals and the media have an important role to play in empowering parents and enabling them to increase their communications with their children with regards to sexual health issues," added Frappier.
The study will be presented at the Canadian Paediatric Society's 88th Annual Conference on June 18, 2011.