ERIC Number: EJ758265
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Feb
Adolescent Sexual Debut and Later Delinquency
Armour, Stacy; Haynie, Dana L.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, v36 n2 p141-152 Feb 2007
Does sexual debut (i.e., experiencing sexual intercourse for the first time) increase the risks of participating in later delinquent behavior? Does this risk increase if adolescents experience early sexual debut relative to the timing experienced by one's peers? Although many factors have been linked to sexual debut, little research has examined whether sexual initiation is linked to later behavioral outcomes. Using data on adolescents participating in three waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 7,297), we examine the interconnections between sexual debut and later delinquency. In addition, we pay particular attention to the role of timing of sexual debut. We find that experiencing sexual debut is associated with delinquency one year later. In addition, those adolescents who experience early sexual debut relative to their peers are at higher risk of experiencing delinquency compared to those who debut on-time; adolescents who experience late sexual debut are the least likely to participate in delinquency. Moreover, the protective effect of late sexual debut appears to persist for several years. Findings are interpreted by drawing on developmental theory and life course research.
Descriptors: Delinquency, Adolescents, Sexuality, Correlation, At Risk Persons, Longitudinal Studies, Age Differences, Early Adolescents, Health Behavior
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health