The determinants of first sex by age 14 in a high-risk adolescent population

Fam Plann Perspect. Jan-Feb 1996;28(1):13-8.

Abstract

A study using data for mothers from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and their children aged 14 or older indicates that, after accounting for a wide range of demographic and socioeconomic antecedents, children are significantly more likely to become sexually active before age 14 if their mother had sex at an early age and if she has worked extensively. In addition, early sexual debut is eight times as likely among black boys as among non-Hispanic white boys. Children who use controlled substances at an early age are more than twice as likely to have sex before age 14 as those who do not, although the type of substance having an effect is different for girls (cigarettes) and boys (alcohol). Church attendance is an important determinant of delayed sexual activity, but only when a child's friends attend the same church.

PIP: Sexual history as well as relevant social and behavioral data on 509 adolescents and their mothers from the 1979-92 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) were analyzed to determine which factors contribute to the likelihood of individuals experiencing first sexual intercourse before reaching age 14 years. 89-101 of the adolescents had experienced sexual intercourse before age 14. Controlling for a wide range of demographic and socioeconomic antecedents in a multivariate analysis, the authors found individuals to be significantly more likely to become sexually active before age 14 if their mother had sex at an early age and if she has worked extensively. Early sexual debut is eight times as likely among Black boys as among non-Hispanic White boys, and boys and girls who used alcohol and cigarettes, respectively, at an early age are more than twice as likely to have sex before age 14 as those who do not. Church attendance is an important determinant of delayed sexual activity, but only when a child's friends attend the same church.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Peer Group
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Social Facilitation
  • Social Problems / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • United States / epidemiology