Adolescent Sexual Behavior: Socio-Psychological Factors (2002)


Advocates for Youth argue that teens’ decisions whether to have sex and whether to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are influenced by many factors. This fact sheet explores how not initiating sex is associated with having a two-parent family and higher socioeconomic status, residing in a rural area, performing better in school, feeling greater religiosity, not having suicidal thoughts, and believing parents care and hold high expectations for their children.

  • “In one study, smoking was the best predictor of sixth graders’ engaging in sexual intercourse, regardless of ethnicity or gender.” (Dillard, 2002, p. 1)
  • “[Sexually] Abused males were four to five times as likely as non-abused males to report multiple partners, substance use at last sex, and involvement in a pregnancy. Abused females were twice as likely as non-abused females to report early coitus, multiple partners, and a past pregnancy.” (Dillard, 2002, p. 1)
  • “A study of first-year college students found that sexually active youth with high levels of religious identification were less likely to use a condom than those with less religious involvement.” (Dillard, 2002, p. 1)
  • “When asked why they had sex for the first time, 13 percent of young men ages 13 to 18 cited pressure from their friends compared to seven percent of young women. Eight percent of young women and one percent of young men cited pressure from a partner as a factor.” (Dillard, 2002, p. 1)

Citation: Dillard, K., (2002). Adolescent sexual behavior: Socio-psychological factors. Advocates For Youth. 1-2

Link to article.

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