Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Brent C. Miller


Brent C. Miller


Glen Jenson


Barbara M. Hales


This study was designed to determine; (1) if adolescent self esteem is related to premarital sexual attitudes and intercourse behavior; (2) if religious affiliation and church attendance affect the relationship between adolescent self esteem and premarital sexual attitudes and behavior. Approximately 2400 adolescents residing in California, New Mexico, and Utah comprised the sample.

Adolescents who attended church services more often reported less sexually permissive attitudes and behavior than those who attended church less often. Similarly, Mormons' premarital sexual attitudes and behavior was more conservative than was the case for non-Mormon adolescents. Findings indicated that the nature of the relationship between permissiveness and self esteem did depend on cultural norms or contexts. In the most conservative normative contexts (among Mormons and frequent church attenders) there was a negative relationship between self esteem and sexual attitudes and sexual behavior; there was no significant relationship between self esteem and sexual attitudes and sexual behavior among the more moderate sample groups.