Sense of Mission and Sexual Health Outcomes Among Young Adult Women

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2016 Dec;29(6):567-570. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2015.03.005. Epub 2015 Mar 16.


Study objective: To examine the association between self-reported sense of mission and sexual health behaviors in a geographically diverse cohort of U.S. young adult females in the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS).

Design: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the 2007 wave of GUTS data from self-reported online or mailed surveys. Outcomes were early sex initiation and history of sexually transmitted infection (STI), which were analyzed as a binary outcome using logit link, and number of sex partners, which was analyzed as a continuous outcome. Models for number of sex partners and history of STIs were adjusted for age.

Participants: There were 5,624 young women aged 20 to 25 years who participate in GUTS and who answered the question on "sense of mission."

Main outcome measures: Age at sexual initiation, history of STIs, and number of lifetime partners.

Results: When asked whether they had a sense of mission in their life, 28.1% of women strongly agreed, 54.9% agreed, and 17% disagreed. Women with a low sense of mission had higher odds of reporting a history of STI (odds ratio 1.35, 95% confidence interval 1.08 to 1.70), and more lifetime sexual partners (β = .83, P < .001).

Conclusions: Having a high sense of mission is associated with lower sexual risk in young women. Interventions to increase sense of mission among young women may improve sexual health outcomes.

Keywords: Sense of mission; Sexual health; Young adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Odds Ratio*
  • Religion
  • Reproductive Health*
  • Risk
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult