Date of Award:

1999

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Glen O. Jenson

Abstract

This study examined four levels of sexual involvement among adolescents. Levels of sexual involvement were (1) adolescents who had experienced sexual intercourse; (2) adolescents who had been involved in petting but had never had intercourse; (3) adolescents who had made out but had never petted or had sexual intercourse; and (4) adolescents who had never made out, petted, or had sexual intercourse. The sample consisted of 308 eleventh graders from a semi-rural area of the state of Utah.

Dating patterns, particularly early age at first date, were found to be significantly associated with most levels of sexual involvement. Early age at first date was associated with a high level of sexual involvement, with 90% of the adolescents who dated at age 13 or before having experienced sexual intercourse by their junior year in high school. Having a steady boyfriend or girlfriend was also associated with a higher level of sexual involvement, with 58% of those who reported having a steady dating partner reporting sexual intercourse involvement.

Close relationships with family, father, and mother were more predictive of less female involvement in sexual activity than male. Relationship with mother was not significant for adolescent male sexual involvement. Having peers who approved of adolescent sexual involvement was more associated with male than female sexual activity. Higher frequency of church attendance was a strong predictor of less sexual involvement for both genders. More factors proved to be predictive of adolescent female than male sexual activity on all levels of sexual involvement. A history of sexual abuse and having high educational goals were significantly associated with female sexual involvement only.

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