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Health Psychol. 1999 Sep;18(5):443-52.

Psychosocial predictors of delay of first sexual intercourse by adolescents.

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  • 1Center for Health Promotion Research and Development, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, USA.


This investigation predicted adolescents' delay of intercourse onset from attitudes, social norms, and self-efficacy about refraining from sexual intercourse. Age, gender, ethnicity, and parental education were also examined as predictors and moderators of the relationships among the 3 psychosocial determinants and onset. The participants (N = 827), part of a cohort initially surveyed in the 9th grade, reported at baseline that they had never engaged in intercourse. The multivariable proportional hazards regression model suggested that adolescents with more positive attitudinal and normative beliefs, as well as those with a parent who graduated from college, were less likely to engage in intercourse in the follow-up period (up to approximately 2 years). Interventions that include an objective to delay onset may benefit from addressing psychosocial determinants, especially attitudes and norms about sexual intercourse.

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