Correlates of adolescent and young adult sexual initiation patterns.
Identifying adolescent characteristics associated with different patterns of sexual initiation is critical to promoting healthy sexual development.Patterns of sexual initiation were examined among 12,378 respondents to Waves 1 (1994-1995) and 4 (2008) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Multinomial logistic regression explored associations between adolescent characteristics and membership in five latent classes capturing the timing, sequence, pace and variety of sexual initiation patterns.Age and indicators of greater psychosocial conventionality were associated with membership in the atypical "postponers" class (characterized by postponement of oral, vaginal and anal sexual activity until early adulthood), although patterns of associations varied by gender. For example, compared with males who attended religious services at least once a week, males who never attended religious services were more likely to appear in the vaginal initiators/multiple behaviors class (characterized by initiation of vaginal sex first and then initiation of another behavior after at least one year), rather than in the postponers class (relative risk ratio, 2.5). Compared with women who prayed at least once a day, those who never prayed were more likely to be in the vaginal initiators/single behavior class (whose members typically engaged in only one type of behavior), rather than in the postponers class (2.0).Individuals who are more adherent, and presumably more committed, to the attitudes, values and expectations of conventional society are more likely than others to delay multiple types of sexual activity until well beyond the norm for their peers.
Reese, BM; Choukas-Bradley, S; Herring, AH; Halpern, CT
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