Sexual possibility situations and sexual behaviors among young adolescents: the moderating role of protective factors.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
William N. Dudley, Professor Public Health Education (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Purpose To examine sexual possibility situations (SPS) and protective practices associated with involvement in intimate sexual behaviors and the initiation of sexual intercourse among young adolescents and to determine if protective factors moderate the relationship between SPS and sexual behaviors. Methods Data for these analyses were obtained from the baseline assessment for adolescents conducted as part of an HIV prevention study called “Keepin’ it R.E.A.L.!” The study was conducted with a community-based organization (CBO) in an urban area serving a predominantly African-American population. In addition to items assessing SPS, intimate sexual behaviors, and initiation of sexual intercourse, adolescents provided information on the following protective factors: educational goals, self-concept, future time perspective, orientation to health, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, parenting, communication, values, and prosocial activities. Background personal information, including age and gender, was also collected. The analyses were conducted on data from 491 predominantly African-American adolescents, 61% of whom were boys. Variables were combined to form SPS and protective indices that were used in the first set of regression analyses. In a second set of analyses, the indices were unbundled and individual variables were entered into regression analyses. Results Both SPS and protective indices explained significant portions of variance in intimate sexual behaviors, and the SPS index explained a significant portion of variance in the initiation of sexual intercourse. The regression analysis using the unbundled SPS and protective factors revealed the following statistically significant predictors for intimate sexual behaviors: age, gender, time alone with groups of peers, time alone with a member of the opposite sex, behavior self-concept, popularity self-concept, self-efficacy for abstinence, outcome expectations for abstinence, parental control, personal values, and parental values. A similar regression analysis revealed that age, time alone with a member of the opposite sex, and personal values were significant predictors of initiation of sexual intercourse. Conclusions These results provide evidence for the important role of protective factors in explaining early involvement in sexual behaviors and show that protective factors extend beyond personal characteristics to include both familial and peer factors.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2004
sexual behavior, sexual experience, adolescents, sexual risk, risk and protective factors, adolescent health

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