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ERIC Number: EJ865883
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-1468-1811
Young Adolescents' Perceptions of Romantic Relationships and Sexual Activity
Royer, Heather R.; Keller, Mary L.; Heidrich, Susan M.
Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, v9 n4 p395-408 Nov 2009
The purpose of this article is to describe young adolescents' perceptions of romantic relationships, ratings of important romantic partner characteristics, and acceptability of sexual activity with romantic relationships. Fifty-seven eighth-grade participants (average age = 13.8 years) from one urban US public middle school completed an anonymous written questionnaire that contained three open-ended questions about romantic relationships, a measure of Important Characteristics in a Romantic Partner, and a measure of sexual behaviors--Approximations to Sexual Intercourse. Eighth-graders' descriptions of romantic relationships included dating and sexual activities. The most common reason for having a relationship was for personal growth and social enhancement. Personal qualities (e.g. honest, kind) were rated as the most important characteristic in a romantic partner. Male participants rated physical attractiveness of a romantic partner significantly higher than did females. Sexual intercourse with a condom was perceived as an acceptable activity within an eighth-grade romantic relationship by 39% of the participants. Males were significantly more likely to approve of activities that included intimate touching than were females. However, the approval ratings for the least risky sexual activities and the most risky sexual activity did not significantly differ by gender. Significant correlations between endorsing risky activities (partners that drink/smoke) and approval of sexual activities were identified among the female participants. In conclusion, young adolescents' descriptions of romantic relationships and sexual activity may be useful in developing more meaningful sexual educational programs to promote the sexual health among this population. (Contains 2 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A