Athletic participation and sexual behavior in adolescents: the different worlds of boys and girls

J Health Soc Behav. 1998 Jun;39(2):108-23.


Using multivariate analysis of covariance to test hypotheses about the effects of sports and sexual behavior on a sample of 611 Western New York adolescents, this study concludes that athletic participation and gender interact to influence adolescent sexual outcomes. Female athletes report significantly lower rates of sexual activity than female nonathletes; male athletes report slightly (though not significantly) higher rates than male nonathletes. The gender-specific effect of sports on sexual behavior remains, net of the impacts of race, age, socioeconomic status, quality of family relations, and participation in other extracurricular activities. This paper introduces cultural resource theory to explain how athletic participation influences both traditional cultural scripts and exchange resources, which, in turn, condition the sexual bargaining process and its outcomes for adolescents.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • New York
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sports*