Published on August 13, 2007
Religiosity and Teenagers’ Sexual Behavior: Religiosity and Teenagers’ Sexual Behavior Results in this Presentation Are Based On:: Results in this Presentation Are Based On: Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Results based on the predicted probabilities that sexually inexperienced teens (aged 12-14 in 1997) would have sex before age 18 and use contraception the first time they have sex. This presentation is based on the research conducted by Child Trends (www.childtrends.org) contained in the Science Says #20: Religiosity and Teenagers’ Sexual Behavior research brief. Available at www.teenpregnancy.org This Presentation Covers:: This Presentation Covers: The association between teen sexual behavior and family religious affiliation and activity. The association between teen sexual behavior and peer religious activity. The association between religiosity and positive parent-teen relationships. About PWWTW Slide4: ﴀ 4 The Association Between Parent, Family, and Peer Religiosity and Teenagers’ Sexual Experience and Contraceptive Use MAJOR FINDINGS Slide5: Teens whose parents hold strong religious beliefs are less likely to have sex before age 18 than their peers whose parents have religious beliefs that are not as strong. Parental Religious Beliefs Parental Religious Beliefs: Parental Religious Beliefs 41% of teens whose parents have 'high' religious beliefs have sexual intercourse before age 18, compared with 45% and 48% of teens whose parents report 'medium' and 'low' belief levels, respectively. Adolescent girls whose parents have medium levels of religious belief are the least likely to use contraception the first time they have sex. Parental Religious Beliefs: Parental Religious Beliefs 39% of teen boys whose parents have high religious beliefs have sex before age 18, compared with boys whose parents report medium (44%) and low (48%) belief levels. For teen girls, 42% of those with parents who have high religious beliefs have sex before age 18, compared with girls whose parents report medium (46%) and low (47%) belief levels. Parental Religious Attendance: The more frequently parents attend religious services, the less likely their adolescent children are to have sex before age 18. Parental Religious Attendance Parental Religious Attendance: Parental Religious Attendance • Teens whose parents never attend worship services are more likely to have sexual intercourse before age 18 (53%) than are teens whose parents attend services 1-2 times a month (45%), once a week (39%), or more than once a week (36%) Family Religious Activities: Family Religious Activities • Teens who share in religious activities (such as going to services and praying) with their family at least six times a week are less likely to have sex before age 18 (34%), than teens who share religious activities with their family two to five days a week (44%), once a week (43%), or never in a typical week (50%) Family Religious Activities: Family Religious Activities • Shared religious activities do not promote better contraceptive use among teens who are sexually experienced. In fact, more frequent participation in family religious activity is associated with reduced teen contraceptive use. Slide12: ﴀ 12 Teens whose parents are affiliated with a religious denomination are less likely to have sex before age 18 than those whose parents have no religious affiliation. Teen contraceptive use does not vary by parental religious affiliation. Parental Religious Denomination Slide13: ﴀ 13 The likelihood of having sex before age 18 varies according to parents’ religious affiliation. Parental Religious Denomination Parental Religiosity: Parental Religiosity Adolescents whose parents score highest on a scale of religiosity* are the least likely to have sex before age 18. However, contraceptive use at first sex is not associated with parental religiosity. * Religiosity was measured on a scale of 0 to 5 based on beliefs, prayer, and attendance at religious services. Peer Religious Attendance: Peer Religious Attendance • Teens who report their peers attend religious services regularly are less likely to have sex before age 18 than those teens whose peers do not. Peer Religious Attendance: Peer Religious Attendance • Sexually experienced teen girls who have a greater proportion of peers who attend services regularly are more likely to use contraception the first time they have sex. • This pattern does not hold for teen boys. Parental Religiosity and Relationship with Teen: Parental Religiosity and Relationship with Teen Adolescent children of parents who have high levels of religiosity and who have a positive mother-child relationship are least likely to have sex before age 18. Parental Religiosity and Relationship with Teen: Parental Religiosity and Relationship with Teen • Teens of parents who have low religiosity but a strong mother-teen relationship are more likely to use contraception at first sex (82%) than those whose parents have low religiosity and weaker mother-teen relationship (77%) and those whose parents have high religiosity and a strong mother-teen relationship (77%). Slide19: ﴀ 19 The Association between Parent, Family, and Peer Religiosity and Teenagers’ Sexual Experience and Contraceptive Use What it All Means Implications: Implications Teens in religious families have sex at later ages. These findings contradict some previous research that has shown minimal associations between religiosity and sexual initiation. Some religious denominations seem more closely linked to delayed sexual initiation. Implications: Implications Parent-teen relationships matter. Peers may also play a role. The connection between religiosity and contraceptive use is not as clear. Conclusion: Conclusion Future research should focus on gaining a better understanding of why parent religiosity affects teens’ decisions about sex. Putting What Works to Work (PWWTW): Putting What Works to Work (PWWTW) PWWTW: What?: PWWTW: What? Cooperative Agreement funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Goal: Enhance the ability of state and local organizations to incorporate science-based approaches into their teen pregnancy prevention efforts. PWWTW: How?: PWWTW: How? Produce high-quality, research-based, user-friendly materials. Use these materials to encourage states, communities, and national organizations to incorporate research-based practices into their work. Go beyond the 'usual suspects' and reach out to media executives, state legislators, funders and other opinion leaders. For more information: : For more information: Visit www.teenpregnancy.org Thank You!