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Adolescence. 2001 Winter;36(144):767-87.

Academic goals, achievement, and age at first sexual intercourse: longitudinal, bidirectional influences.

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  • 1Department of General Education, Eastern Idaho Technical College, Idaho Falls 83404, USA.


This study examined bidirectional relationships between age at first sexual intercourse and academic goals and achievement. It was hypothesized that lower educational goals and achievement would be associated with initiating sexual intercourse at a younger age, and that initiating sexual activity early would be associated with a decrease in subsequent academic achievement and goals. In longitudinal data spanning 11 years, evidence was found for bidirectional effects. One interpretation of these results is that adolescents with high educational goals and achievement delay having intercourse because of the perceived risks (e.g., pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases may jeopardize their plans for the future). Conversely, adolescents who engage in sexual intercourse at young ages might undergo a change in attitudes, including reduced interest in academic achievement and goals. The specific educational variables most strongly related to adolescent sexual intercourse in this study differed substantially by race and gender.

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