Magazine article USA TODAY

Teen Sex Linked to Early Friendships

Magazine article USA TODAY

Teen Sex Linked to Early Friendships

Article excerpt

The nature of preteen friendships can play a key role in determining whether or not a child will engage in sexual activity early in adolescence, an Ohio State University, Columbus, study suggests. For example, researchers found that boys who had mostly female friends when they were preteens were more likely to have had sex by age 16 than were other boys. The same wasn't true, however, for girls who as preteens had mostly male friends.

Results also showed that preteens with friends in higher grades were more likely to have sex in early adolescence. Going steady in early adolescence was linked as well to having sex as a young teen. "Social networking at ages 11 and 12 is powerfully predictive of sexual initiation between early and middle adolescence," maintains Elizabeth Cooksey, study co-author and associate professor of sociology. Moreover, she and her colleagues found that having a steady boyfriend or girlfriend as a young teenager significantly increased the odds of having sex. The researchers define early adolescence as encompassing ages 13 and 14, and middle adolescence as ages 15 and 16. …

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