Date of Conferral



Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)




Benita Stiles-Smith


Research has indicated that religious families influence the sexual education of their children. This qualitative phenomenological research addressed the research gap of how religious parents engage and communicate with their children concerning sexual education and sexuality. Bronfenbrenner’s multilevel ecological theory supported the notion of parents as first teachers developing the basis for socialization with family, relatives, neighbors, friends, church, schools, peer, and other groups in the community. The study included 10 qualitative data sets collected through guided interviews with parents in four separate conservative faith communities. Data analyses via explication process identified the major themes of self-preparation by parents, communicating processes and challenges, and modeled education by participant’s parents. The research outcomes contribute greater understanding of religious parents’ experiences and perspectives of parent–child communication regarding sexual education. This information may be useful in supporting further development of educational processes and materials for parents in faith communities and support further research on the topic.