ERIC Number: ED263268
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Starting Early: The Antecedents of Early Premarital Intercourse. Final Summary Report.
Peterson, James L.; And Others
In an attempt to understand the determinants of early sexual activity, a series of papers were completed using data on 15 and 16-year-olds from the 1981 National Survey of Children. These five papers focus on the association between early sexual activity and, respectively, household structure; television viewing; sex education; race; and parent-teen communication. Following a description of the data used in the analyses, this document summarizes the results of each of the five papers. The first paper finds that children living in single parent households are more likely to initiate early sexual activity. Among white females, sexual activity is affected by whether the mother dates frequently or is remarried (greater likelihood of early activity); among black females sexual activity was more than twice as high for daughters living apart from their fathers. These data indicate that sex and race differences in the family determinants of early sexual activity are substantial. Among black males the results were similar to those for white females; among white males activity was greater for those living with their biological fathers. The second paper considers the effects of television and finds that viewing is a weak predictor of sexual activity but may be more influential among more vulnerable groups and is likelier to be important for males. The third paper considers racial differences in the timing of intercourse and finds that the data most favors a difference in attitudes and perceptions between blacks and whites, rather than a socioeconomic explanation, leading to earlier sexual activity. The fourth paper considers the influence of sex education and finds that sex education programs reduce sexual activity, and that they supplement, rather than interfere with, the influence of parents. The fifth paper finds that daughters of more traditional parents are less likely to have early sexual experiences if they speak to their parents about it, and the effect is similar with sons. Several statistical tables are appended. (CG)
Publication Type: Collected Works - General; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs (PHS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A