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J Adolesc Health. 2008 Mar;42(3):228-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.08.014. Epub 2007 Nov 7.

A longitudinal study of adolescent transition from virgin to nonvirgin status.

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1
Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403, USA. mlaflin@bgnet.bgsu.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To identify demographic and psychosocial predictors for early sexual initiation (ESI) among middle school midwestern suburban and rural youth.

METHODS:

A total of 884 middle school students completed a pretest and a 1-year follow-up questionnaire. At Time 1, 52 students reported already having initiated sexual behavior; the remaining 832 students were included in our analyses. The sample was 58.5% female and 92.8% white, with a mean age of 12.84 years. At Time 2, 105 students (12.6%) had changed their coital status from virgin to nonvirgin. A stepwise logistic regression was conducted to explore the relationship between the demographic and psychosocial variables measured at Time 1 (including grade, academic performance, mother's education, family structure, religiosity, self-esteem [school, home, and peer], perceived sexual norms, abstinence self-efficacy, peer pressure, etc.) and reported sexual behavior at Time 2. The analyses were conducted separately by gender.

RESULTS:

For both genders, academic achievement was positively related and peer self-esteem was negatively related to ESI. In addition, self-efficacy and frequency of prayer were negatively related to ESI for boys, and peer pressure, age, and traditional family structure were negatively related to ESI for girls.

CONCLUSIONS:

Risk and protective factors for ESI should be examined separately by gender. Use of a facet-specific measure of self-esteem revealed very different relationships among the peer, home, and school aspects of self-esteem and transition to nonvirgin status; therefore, researchers are encouraged to use area-specific rather than global measures of self-esteem.

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