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Summary: Strong Parental Disapproval of Teen Sex Equals Less STD’s

Adolescents who perceive that their parents more strongly disapprove of their having sex during adolescence are less likely to have sexually transmitted infections 6 years later.

  • In an article written in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the results from a national longitudinal study of adolescent health were reported. According to the study, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) cause considerable personal and societal burden in the United States. Biological factors, sexual networks, sexual behaviors, partner characteristics, health care, and social context all contribute to the risk of acquiring STIs. Since influencing adolescents’ sexual behaviors has the potential to influence the long-term level of risk for STIs among young adults, the researchers of this study wanted to determine whether family, school, and individual factors associated with increased duration of virginity also protect against STIs in young adulthood. For this study, 11,594 people were examined.  Among the participants of the study, 52.8% were female, 54.2% were white, 21.3% were African American, 16.4% were Latino, 7.2% were Asian American, and 1.0% was Native American. The average age of the participants was 22 years old. The results of the study found that adolescents who perceived that their parents more strongly disapproved of their having sex during adolescence were less likely to have sexually transmitted infections 6 years later. The study showed that teens of parents who strongly disapproved of adolescent sex, had 62% less cases of STDs. Those with a higher grade point average during adolescence were also less likely to acquire STIs. However, feelings of connection to family or school, reported importance of religion, attending a parochial school, and pledges of virginity during adolescence did not predict STI status 6 years later for this particular study. Based on their findings, the researchers of this study concluded that perceived parental disapproval of sexual intercourse and higher grades in school during adolescence have protective influences on the level of risk for acquiring STIs, especially among female adolescents. Most factors associated with increased duration of virginity in adolescence do not influence the long-term direction of STI risk.1

1Predicting Adolescents’ Longitudinal Risk for Sexually Transmitted Infection, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 159, July 2005, pp. 657-664.

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