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Predictors of virginity and recent sexual involvement among rural adolescents

Michael Young & Denny George, USA

Abstract of a lecture, given at the 15th World Congress of Sexology,
World association of Sexology, June 2001, Paris
(Abstracts book, page 268)

The purpose of the study was to identify the role of educational aspirations, self-esteem, and religion in early sexual involvement. To develop programs that are effective in helping young people postpone sexual involvement, it is important to identify the antecedents of such involvement.

Voluntarily and with written parent permission, students from 15 rural school districts completed a study questionnaire in their regular classroom setting. Approximately 18 months later students completed the same questionnaire a second time. Completed questionnaires from both test times were received from 704 students. Data were analysed using logistic regression. Data from the fIrst survey were used to predict behaviour at the time of the second survey.

For the variable "transition from virgin to non-virgin" only confidence in completing high school and plans to attend college were significant predictors of maintaining virgin status (R2.=.036) when separate analyses were conducted by gender no significant predictor variables were identified for males, but confidence in completing high school and plans to attend college were significant predictors for females.

For the variable "had sexual intercourse in the last month" significant predictor variables were age, church attendance, religiosity, peer self-esteem, home self-esteem, school self-esteem, confidence in completing high school, and plans to attend college (R2=.152). When sep- arate analyses were conducted by gender, significant predictor variables for males included age and peer self-esteem. For females significant pre- dictors were age, religiosity, and home self-esteem (R2=.225).

Higher scores for home self-esteem, school self-esteem, religious variables and educational variables were associated with a decreased likelihood of engaging in sex. Increased age and higher scores on peer self-esteem were associated with an increased likelihood of engaging in sex. Results of the identify possible variables to address by those interested in program to help young people postpone sexual involvement.

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