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Sociol Educ. 2008 Jul 1;81(3):284-311.

ADOLESCENTS' SEXUAL BEHAVIOR AND ACADEMIC ATTAINMENT.

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1
The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Sociology.

Abstract

High school students today have high ambitions but do not always make choices that maximize their likelihood of educational success. This is the motivation for investigating relationships between high school sexual behavior and two important academic attainment milestones: earning a high school diploma and enrollment in distinct postsecondary programs. Analysis of data from 7,915 National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988-1994 participants indicates that timing of sexual initiation, contraceptive nonuse, and parenthood all predict female and male students' academic attainment. Furthermore, sexual behavior has more ramifications as attainment milestones become more competitive. These findings point to the importance of considering how students' choices across multiple life domains influence academic attainment, an important predictor of adult socioeconomic opportunity.

KEYWORDS:

academic attainment; adolescent parenthood; aligned ambitions; contraceptive use; timing of first sex

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