Psychosocial predictors of delay of first sexual intercourse by adolescents

Health Psychol. 1999 Sep;18(5):443-52. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.18.5.443.

Abstract

This investigation predicted adolescents' delay of intercourse onset from attitudes, social norms, and self-efficacy about refraining from sexual intercourse. Age, gender, ethnicity, and parental education were also examined as predictors and moderators of the relationships among the 3 psychosocial determinants and onset. The participants (N = 827), part of a cohort initially surveyed in the 9th grade, reported at baseline that they had never engaged in intercourse. The multivariable proportional hazards regression model suggested that adolescents with more positive attitudinal and normative beliefs, as well as those with a parent who graduated from college, were less likely to engage in intercourse in the follow-up period (up to approximately 2 years). Interventions that include an objective to delay onset may benefit from addressing psychosocial determinants, especially attitudes and norms about sexual intercourse.

PIP: This study predicted adolescent's delay of intercourse onset from attitudes, social norms, and self-efficacy about refraining from sexual intercourse. Age, gender, ethnicity, and parental education were also examined as predictors and moderators of the relationships among the three psychosocial determinants and onset. The longitudinal data for the study were obtained from 827 participants in the US who were part of a cohort initially surveyed in the 9th grade. These participants reported at baseline that they had never engaged in intercourse. Utilizing the multivariable proportional hazards regression model, findings suggested that adolescents with more positive attitudinal and normative beliefs were less likely to engage in intercourse in the follow-up period (up to approximately 2 years). This was also the case for those students with a parent who graduated from college. Attitudes and norms were the most robust predictors of intercourse. In addition, a relatively modest increase in either scale was predictive of a 30% reduction in the onset of future intercourse in the most conservative analytic model. Interventions that include an objective to delay onset may benefit from addressing psychosocial determinants, especially attitudes and norms about sexual intercourse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychosexual Development / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires