Teen Girls’ Reproductive Attitudes and the Timing and Sequencing of Sexual Behaviors


Guzzo, Karen Benjamin; Lang, Vanessa Wanner; & Hayford, Sarah R. (2019). Teen Girls' Reproductive Attitudes and the Timing and Sequencing of Sexual Behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health.


Purpose-Teen girls consider not only health outcomes, such as pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but also social outcomes, such as guilt or embarrassment, when making decisions about sexual behaviors. Methods-Following a sample of female virgins aged 15–18 years from wave I through wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 2,376), we tested whether adolescent girls' attitudes toward sex, contraception, pregnancy, and STIs influence the timing of coital debut, using discrete time event history logistic regression, and whether oral sex precedes coital debut, using logistic regression. Results-Concerns about negative social consequences of sex were associated with later coital debut (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=.79, p value=.000), whereas perceived physical benefits of sex and positive attitudes toward contraception were associated with earlier coital debut (AOR=1.09, p value=.049 and AOR=1.17, p value=.002, respectively). Worries about pregnancy were not associated with the timing of coital debut but did predict having oral sex before vaginal sex (AOR=1.33, p value=.007). Favorable birth control attitudes and positive attitudes toward sex also increased the odds of oral sex before vaginal sex (AOR=1.38, p value=.008 and AOR=1.47, p value=.000, respectively). Conclusions-Teen girls' worries about the emotional and social consequences of sex may be a more salient predictor of the timing of coital debut than concerns about the risk of pregnancy or STIs. Teen girls' fears coexist with positive views about sex and contraception, which are associated with earlier sex and sexual sequencing.




coital debut


Export Date: 12 August 2019

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Journal of Adolescent Health


Guzzo, Karen Benjamin
Lang, Vanessa Wanner
Hayford, Sarah R.

Year Published




Reference ID