Socio-demographic characteristics of respondents

In this study a total of 347 parents were interviewed giving a 100% response rate. The mean age of study participants was 45.9 (± 11 SD) years. As shown in (Table 1) below, among the study participants, 173 (49.9%) were Oromo by ethnic group and 151 (43.5%), of them were orthodox in religion. Majority of the respondents were females 205 (59.1%), regarding marital status majority, 282 (81.3%) was live together and housewives 139 (40.1%), and 128 (36.9%) educated primary school and 162 (46.7%) had (3–5) family size.

Table 1 Socio-demographic characteristics of respondents, Asella town, Ethiopia, June, 2019

Knowledge on sexual reproductive health issues

Among the respondents 250(72%) of them were knowledgeable of SRH issues. Specific components of SRH mentioned by the parents were; family planning 93.7%, STDs 73%, and early marriage 52.4%. When asked about the behavioral and physical changes during adolescence, the majority 92.8% breast enlargement and 90.5% beginning of menses on females and change in voice for males 84.7%. Among parents asked about knowledge of contraceptive methods, the majority had awareness of pills 91.6%, injection 92.5%, implant 82.4%, natural /calendar 8.1%, IUCD 79.5%, condom 79.0.5%, and emergency contraceptives 33.4% (Fig. 2). Regarding of the consequences of unprotected sex, the majority reported that leads for STD /HIV 75%, unwanted pregnancy 66%, unsafe abortion 28.2%, and school drop 90.2%.

Fig. 2
figure 2

Parents’ knowledge of family planning methods available in Asella town, Arsi zone, Ethiopia, June, 2019

Parent’s attitude and suggestions on SRH discussion

Attitude of parents towards SRH issues discussion was measured by a set of questions using the likert scale. The majority of the parents 82.4%, agreed on the need of discussions with their adolescents, 89.6% strongly agree to encourage adolescents to ask about SRH information, and 76.4% agreed abstinence of sex rather than other contraceptives. Around 4.3% of parents think that discussion about sexuality will make adolescents promiscuous and 22.8% of parents approve of the use of condoms by their adolescents. In general a combined score for the five questions indicated that 77.5% of parents had a positive attitude towards reproductive health and its discussion (Fig. 3). Among parents asked their suggestions of SRH communication with their adolescents, the majority of parents recommended that adolescents should get adequate information on SRH issues at school 95.4%, through mass media 87%, at home 13.8% and 15% at religious areas. Out of parents asked about their adolescents future sexual behaviors 79.5% were worried about it and 93.4% of them did not accept premarital sex.

Fig. 3
figure 3

Over all parents attitude of SRH discussion with their adolescents, in Asella town Arsi zone, Ethiopia, June 2019

Parent-adolescent communication and hindering reasons on SRH matters

In this case participants were asked by a Yes or No question whether they have ever discussed SRH with their adolescents. Even though the majority, 78% of parents, have a positive attitude towards parent-adolescents’ SRH discussion, this study showed that only 23.1% of the respondents had discussed at least two components of SRH issues in the last 12 months. Out of the discussions 60% had been made with their daughters, and 40.3% were done with their son. The finding showed that the majority of female parents prefer to communicate with their daughters 50.7% while male parents have discussed it with sons and daughters, 53.1%. The major topics of the discussions were about STIs/HIV/AIDS 90.2%, abstain 74.2%, early marriage 63.89%, condom 40.02%, and unwanted pregnancy, 40.5%. As seen in (Fig. 4), the most common reason for not talking with their adolescents; majority 77.5%, perceived it may initiate adolescent for sexual practice, culturally unacceptable 47.3%, difficult to explain 58.2%, shame/taboo 53%, lack of awareness 53.9% and lack of time/too busy 25.6%.

Fig. 4
figure 4

Respondents of overall discussion and reasons for not discussed, in Asella town, Ethiopia June, 2019

Factors associated with SRH communication

As indicated in Table 2, below. A binary logistic regression analysis showed that parents’ educational status, marital status, family size, attitude and knowledge of parents were significantly associated with parent-adolescent discussion. In multivariate logistic regression all significant variables mentioned above and those with P-value less than 0.25 in the crude analysis were again entered into multivariate logistic model to control confounding effect. Hence, the probability of discussion was found to be significantly associated with parents who had completed some form of education: grades 9–12 (AOR = 0.423, 95% CI: 1.062–5.529), diploma and above (AOR = 0.775, 95% CI: 2.034–11.213). Also, parents’ marital status of those who divorced was 69% had lower tendency to discuss SRH issues (AOR = 0.314, 95% CI: 0 0.117–0.842). However parents who were knowledgeable and positive attitude towards SRH issues were almost similarly three times (AOR = 3.086, 95% CI: 1.886–5.395; AOR = 3.034, 95% CI: 1.373–6.704) higher in discussing SRH than their counterparts, respectively.

Table 2 Predictors of parental discussions with their adolescents on reproductive health issues, Asella town, Arsi zone, Ethiopia, June, 2019 (n = 347)

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