Associations Between Fathers' and Sons' Sexual Risk in Rural Kenya: The Potential for Intergenerational Transmission.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Despite high rates of HIV in areas of Sub-Saharan Africa and men's role in driving the epidemic, little is known about whether or how sexual risk-both behaviors and beliefs-may be passed down through generations of males. This study examined associations between sexual risk behaviors and sex-related beliefs of adolescent males and those of their male caregivers in Kenya, as well as the potential moderating effects of parenting characteristics and father-son relationship quality.


Cross-sectional linear regression analysis was applied to baseline data from a trial of a family- and church-based intervention for families in rural Kenya that followed a stepped-wedge cluster randomized design. Our subsample consisted of 79 male caregiver and son (aged 10-16 years) dyads.


Results demonstrated a direct relationship between fathers' and sons' sex-related beliefs that was not moderated by parenting or quality of father-son relationship. Parenting/relationship characteristics did moderate the relationship between fathers' and sons' sexual behavior; if fathers did not engage in high-risk sex and exhibited more positive parenting/higher relationship quality, their sons were less likely to be sexually active. Among fathers having high-risk sex, parenting was unrelated to sons' behavior except at very high levels of positive parenting/relationship quality; at these levels, sons were actually more likely to have had sex.


Findings support recommendations to include male caregivers in youth HIV prevention efforts, potentially by targeting fathers' parenting strategies and their individual risk.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Giusto, AM; Green, EP; Puffer, ES

Published Date

  • August 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 61 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 219 - 225

PubMed ID

  • 28391964

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1972

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1054-139X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.02.007


  • eng