Mothers' influence on the timing of first sex among 14- and 15-year-olds

J Adolesc Health. 2002 Sep;31(3):256-65. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(02)00350-6.


Purpose: To better understand maternal influence on the timing of first sex for adolescents.

Methods: Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the association between maternal characteristics and the timing of first sex. Matched dyads of mothers and their adolescent children were used.

Results: Of the 2,006 adolescents aged 14 and 15 years who reported to be virgins, 95 males (10.8%) and 162 females (15.8%) indicated they had initiated sex within the follow-up period, 1 year later. For males, few variables beyond the controls used in the models were predictive of timing of first sexual intercourse. For females, mother's satisfaction with her relationship with her daughter (hazard ratio =.62), mother's strong disapproval of her daughter having sex (hazard ratio =.56), and frequency of communication with the parents of her daughter's friends were associated with later sexual debut (hazard ratio =.88).

Conclusion: Based on the variables in the model, mothers' values and beliefs and relationship satisfaction have more influence on daughters than on sons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors