J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. HIV education for youth: This strategy assures that these relationship dynamics precede first sexual intercourse, rather than resulting from it. While sex education is vitally important to preparation for adulthood, it seems all the more critical that youth have opportunities to be involved in prosocial relationships and learn skills for managing the social relationships in which sexual behavior occurs. Participants were asked in both waves if they had ever had vaginal intercourse and, if so, the month and year in which they had had intercourse for the first time. Second, our findings suggest that perceived values of friends regarding sex have a stronger direct relationship with sexual initiation than do friends' reported attitudes about sex. As part of the in-school survey, participants were asked to nominate up to five best male and five best female friends from a roster of all students at their school. Past lessons, present knowledge, and future opportunities.
First, our findings suggest that normative sexual behavior among friends predicts transition to first intercourse during the middle adolescent years. Bearman P and Bruckner H, , op. To determine the percentage indirect effect, we divided the indirect effect by the total effect and multiplied the result by Thus, our findings may not be generalizable to adolescents in that age-group. Mediation analyses consisted of three steps. A key inconsistency involved 51 participants who said at Wave 1 that they were sexually inexperienced but at Wave 2 gave a date of first intercourse that was up to three months before the first survey. Carvajal SC et al. Adolescents with higher proportions of sexually experienced close friends are more likely to initiate sexual intercourse than others; adolescents whose close friends hold positive attitudes related to sex have an increased likelihood of initiating intercourse; close friends' sexual behaviors and attitudes influence initiation of intercourse by influencing adolescents' perceptions about gaining friends' respect by having sex; and the proposed associations are strongest among teenagers who are highly involved with their close friends. In contrast, the coefficient associated with friends' attitudes about sex was no longer significant after adjusting for adolescents' perceptions of friend respect. An average friend involvement score was created by summing activities with each nominated friend completing a Wave 1 in-home survey and dividing this sum by the number of nominated friends with in-home surveys. Among the most powerful sources of social influence are parents, siblings, sexual partners and friends. Friend Involvement as a Moderator The final multivariate models included three interaction terms—involvement by proportion of friends who were sexually experienced, by friends' attitudes about sex and by perceived respect from friends for having sex. Flay BR and Petraitis J, , op. A third theme worthy of further study is the idea that relationships between friends' and adolescents' sexual behaviors may be re-ciprocal. Analysis The first step in our analysis was to identify variables to serve as covariates in our multivariate models. Cambridge University Press, How do friends shape adolescents' choices beyond sexual initiation, such as their choices about ongoing sexual activity and contraceptive use? J Adolesc Health Care. Conclusions Our findings highlight the need for further research related to several themes in understanding peer relationships and adolescent health. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. In addition, participants in the Wave 1 in-home survey were asked to nominate one best male and one best female friend. Journal of Research on Adolescence, , 12 1: Sexual activity, condom use and AIDS awareness among adolescent males. Authors' Affiliations Renee E. Within these relationships, both formal and informal, adolescents can learn skills of negotiating trust, seeking support, managing conflict and expressing empathy—skills that are critical to the development of healthy romantic and sexual relationships.
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