Predictors of Adolescent Sexual Behavior and Behavioral Intent

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, March 2000 | Go to article overview

Predictors of Adolescent Sexual Behavior and Behavioral Intent


Michael Young, George Denny, and Susan Raush, University of Arkansas

Recent efforts to combat teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease have often included programming designed to encourage young people to postpone or limit sexual involvement. For such programs to be effective, it is important to understand those factors related to early sexual involvement. In this study we were specifically interested in identifying the role of religion, self-efficacy, and educational aspirations relative to selected measures of sexual behavior and behavioral intent. Participants for the study were students in grades 8-l2 from six southern rural schools. The testing instrument was an 85-item questionnaire that addressed knowledge, attitudes, and behavior relative to sexuality, and included a six item self-efficacy scale. Sexual behavior was measured by two single items that addressed "sexual intercourse ever" and "sexual intercourse in the last month." These two items were also part of a five item "sexual activity" scale (alpha = .83) that also addressed the number of sexual partners (l ifetime and last year), and frequency of sexual intercourse. Behavioral intent was measured using a three-item scale (alpha = .89) that addressed the chances of the participants having sexual intercourse in the next year, before graduating from high school, and before marriage. Students voluntarily, and with written parental permission, completed the questionnaire in their regular classroom setting under supervision of a member of the research team. …

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