Religious Influence on the Sexual Behavior of Rural Youth. (Health)

Article excerpt

Problems associated with early sexual involvement are well documented. A number of antecedents of early sexual involvement have been identified. Conservatives have called for greater involvement in religious activities, and a return to moral and religious values, to prevent early sexual involvement. Religion seems to play a greater role in the lives of those living in rural areas. Therefore the purpose of this study was to determine whether differences in religious identification and involvement were related to differences in sexual behavior among a sample of rural youth. High school students from a single rural school district (n = 330) completed an 87-item questionnaire that elicited demographic information, as well as information related to several health behaviors, including sexual behavior. Religious "involvement" was measured by student report of their frequency of attendance at religious services (never, 1-2 times per year, once per month, 2-3 times per month, once per week, more than once per week). R eligious identification was measured by student response to the question "How religious do you consider yourself to be?" (extremely religious, religious, somewhat religious, not religious). Sexual behavior variables included whether students had participated in sexual intercourse (ever, in last year, and in last month), number of sexual partners (e.g. persons with whom they had participated in sexual intercourse: ever, last year). …