Religiosity, sexual behaviors, and sexual attitudes during emerging adulthood

J Sex Res. 2004 May;41(2):150-9. doi: 10.1080/00224490409552223.


The current study examined associations between religiosity and sexual behaviors and attitudes during emerging adulthood. Two hundred and five emerging adults completed surveys about five aspects of their religiosity (group affiliation, attendance at religious services, attitudes, perceptions of negative sanctions, and adherence to sanctions) and their sexual behaviors (abstinence, age of onset, lifetime partners, condom use) and attitudes (conservative attitudes, perceived vulnerability to HIV, and condom-related beliefs). Associations were found between the measures of religiosity and sexuality, although the patterns differed by measures used. Religious behavior was the strongest predictor of sexual behavior. Many aspects of religiosity were associated with general sexual attitudes, which was not the case for perceived vulnerability to HIV and condom-related beliefs. The findings support reference group theory and highlight the importance of considering the specific constructs of religiosity and sexuality assessed in studies of these topics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Religion and Sex*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • United States