(September 2012) In many parts of the world, adolescents are poorly informed about their health, bodies, sexuality, and physical well-being. Adolescent girls in particular are often kept from learning about sexuality and reproductive health (SRH) issues because of cultural and religious sensitivities. This is particularly true in Egypt, where adolescents are often reluctant to ask for SRH information from adults in their families, communities, or in professional settings.

International studies show that parents are among the preferred sources of SRH education for adolescents around the world, and improving the quality of communication between parents and adolescents can protect adolescents from risky behavior. This working paper presents key findings from a study conducted in Egypt in the spring of 2011 on the frequency and quality of communication about SRH issues between mothers and adolescent daughters. The findings suggest that communication between mothers and daughters and knowledge about these sensitive topics is poor; however, both mothers and daughters are eager for more information on SRH matters. This study is part of a series of studies on the same topic sponsored by the Population Council and conducted in several countries using similar research methodologies.

Yasmine Y. Muhammad participated in a joint PRB-Assiut University training on policy communication held in Assiut in 2009. She is an assistant lecturer of Maternal and Child Health at the Family Health Department in the High Institute of Public Health at Alexandria University, Egypt. This paper is based on key findings of her research conducted in collaboration with Heba M. Mamdouh, her colleague at the High Institute. Their research was supported by the Population Council office in Cairo. Ms. Yasmine Muhammad can be reached at