Paternal-Adolescent Communication of Risky Behaviors in Asunción, Paraguay: A Qualitative Study Open Access

Blumenfeld, Rachel Lauren (2014)

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Little is known about adolescents' access to information regarding substance abuse and violence throughout Latin America. Studies suggest that adolescents access information about sex, STIs, pregnancy, and contraception from friends and family. In countries where the Catholic Church plays a role in sexual education in schools and personal beliefs, information may be incomplete because of some churches conservative views. Along with the stigma concerning sexuality in teenage years, adolescents feel shame consulting parents or siblings about sexual behaviors. Prior studies have focused mainly on adolescents' relationships with their parents, but few have focused specifically on the father-adolescent relationship.


This project was conducted in Asunción, Paraguay, in a marginalized neighborhood known as the Bañado Sur, located outside the city center along the Paraguayan River. In collaboration with a local non-profit organization, Asociación Mil Solidarios, in-depth interviews and small group discussions were conducted with fathers of adolescents in the community in order to understand their personal as well as community-wide views on risky behaviors, community needs, family dynamics, faith-based organizations, and ideal intervention sites. 14 individual in-depth interviews, 1 small group discussion, and 1 focus group were conducted.


Fathers in the Bañado Sur lack the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate with their children about risky health behaviors, however they express a strong desire to do so. There are few resources available for fathers to learn about how to communicate effectively with their children about sexual health, substance abuse, and violence. There are also few resources available for fathers to learn about and discuss these issues with other fathers.


A combination of two existing interventions should be adapted for use in the Bañado Sur. The resulting intervention would be delivered in collaboration with faith-based organizations and would focus first on developing fathers' own knowledge and communication skills. Workshops should be led by faith leaders and encourage open communication and education, especially about sexual and reproductive health, amongst fathers, in order to later discuss strategies for reducing negative health outcomes among their children and foster a better future for youth in the Bañado Sur.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction 1

1.1 Introduction and Rationale 1

1.2 Purpose Statement and Research Questions 3

1.3 Significance Statement 3

Chapter 2: Review of the Literature 5

2.1 Overview of Paraguay 5

2.2 The Bañado Sur 6

2.3 Sexual and Reproductive Health 7

2.4 Alcohol, Drug, and Tobacco Abuse 9

2.5 Violence 10

2.6 Parent-Child Connectedness, Relationships, and Communication 12

2.7 Prevention-Intervention Strategies through Faith-Based Venues 13

Chapter 3: Methods 16

3.1 Research Design 16

3.2 Study Site 17

3.3 Study Population 20

3.4 Data Collection Methods 20

3.5 Participant Recruitment 21

3.6 Data Collection Process 22

3.7 Data Preparation and Analysis 23

3.8 Data Quality and Limitations 24

3.9 Ethical Considerations 25

Chapter 4: Results 26

4.1 Community 26

4.2 Risk 35

4.3 Struggle 52

Chapter 5: Discussion 57

5.1 Recommendations for Program Intervention 57

5.2 Faith, Hope, and Love: How Latino Faith Communities Can Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy 58

5.3 Parent-Adolescent Communication about Sex in Latino Families 60

5.4 Utilizing Intervention Tools in Paraguay 62

5.5 Conclusion 65

Bibliography 67

Appendix 1: In-depth Interviews with Fathers - English 70

Appendix 2: In-depth Interviews with Fathers - Spanish 74

Appendix 3: Focus Group Discussion Guide with Fathers - English 77

Appendix 4: Focus Group Discussion Guide with Fathers - Spanish 80

Appendix 5: Codebook 83

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