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J Adolesc. 2013 Dec;36(6):1193-204. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2013.08.005. Epub 2013 Oct 22.

Developmental trajectories of religiosity, sexual conservatism and sexual behavior among female adolescents.

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Section of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA. Electronic address:


Understanding the role of socio-sexual cognitions and religiosity on adolescent sexual behavior could guide adolescent sexual health efforts. The present study utilized longitudinal data from 328 young women to assess the role of religion and socio-sexual cognitions on sexual behavior accrual (measuring both coital and non-coital sexual behavior). In the final triple conditional trajectory structural equation model, religiosity declined over time and then increased to baseline levels. Additionally, religiosity predicted decreased sexual conservatism and decreased sexual conservatism predicted increased sexual behavior. The final models are indicative of young women's increasing accrual of sexual experience, decreasing sexual conservatism and initial decreasing religiosity. The results of this study suggest that decreased religiosity affects the accrual of sexual experience through decreased sexual conservatism. Effective strategies of sexual health promotion should include an understanding of the complex role of socio-sexual attitudes with religiosity.


Adolescence; Longitudinal study; Religion; Sexual behavior; Sexual conservatism

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