Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Michael G. Schwab


Poor sexual health communication among first generation Nigerian American parents and their adolescent children due to disparities in cultural integration constitutes a barrier to effective parent-child relationships. The purpose of this phenomenological study, which was guided by the acculturative family distancing (AFD) model, was to explore the lived experience of Nigerian immigrant families in the United States regarding communication effectiveness about sex and integration into the American way of life. The research questions addressed cultural bias, parent-adolescent communication effectiveness, strategies employed, resources available to new immigrants, and barriers to their usage. Data collection was by individual interviews of 5 Nigerian-born parents and their adolescent children ages 13 to 17 years who have been in the United States for 10 years or more. Inductive analysis of qualitative data revealed challenges of parenting roles due to differences in cultural beliefs and parents' perceptions of their children's confrontational attitudes; parents' lack of knowledge about safe sex education methods and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases; Nigerian parents' authoritarian views; and parents' belief in the need to listen to the views of their children and relate more closely to them. Parents reported wanting to curtail children's rights, while children reported that their parents did not respect their opinion or privacy, which is a barrier to the cordial relationship they wanted. Most parents recommended orientation classes for parents to help resolve these issues and ease integration challenges. These results may inform policy on integration for new immigrants and promote strategies for improving effective parent-adolescent communication.