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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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Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403, USA.



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


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.


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.


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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