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NCJ Number: 221583 Find in a Library
Title: Sex and the Self: The Impact of Early Sexual Onset on the Self-Concept and Subsequent Risky Behavior of African American Adolescents
Journal: Journal of Early Adolescence  Volume:28  Issue:1  Dated:February 2008  Pages:70-91
Author(s): Amy E. Houlihan; Frederick X. Gibbons; Meg Gerrard; Hsiu-Chen Yeh; Rachel A. Reimer; Velma M. Murray
Date Published: February 2008
Page Count: 22
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The present study investigated changes in African-American adolescents’ health cognitions, self-concept, and misbehavior following the onset of sexual activity.
Abstract: Findings indicate that sexual debut was related to increases in adolescents’ self-concepts and risk-cognitions, both of which predicated risky sexual behavior. Early sexual onset was associated with an increase in sex prototype favorability, for all adolescents, and the increase in self-concept for the boys. The current analysis found evidence of reciprocal relations between prototypes and risk behaviors. Favorable prototypes predicted early sexual onset (onset within the next 2 years), which was associated with risky sexual behavior 3 years later. Positive effect of sexual onset of African-American adolescents’ self-concepts were revealed, as those who became sexually active showed a greater increase in self-concept than those adolescents who abstained. The effect was found despite the high stability of self-concept over time, and the effect was significantly stronger for boys than for girls. Furthermore, self-concept was related to later risky sexual behavior and consequences associated with risky sexual behavior. Thus it appears that some African-American adolescents view themselves more positively after the initiation of early sex. Post cross-sectional research has shown that self-esteem is positively related to sexual behavior for early adolescents, but is not related to sexual behavior among middle and late adolescence. Data did not suggest that low self-concept adolescents initiate sexual behavior to boost their self-concept. In fact, there was no relation between pre-debuted in self-concept and debut. The data suggest that adolescents with typical levels of self-concept experience an increase in self-concept after sexual onset. It is possible that other events or changes in adolescents’ lives that coincided with the timing of sexual onset may explain the observed increase in self-concept. The sample consisted of 733 African-American boys (328) and girls (405) from Iowa and Georgia. Tables, figure, note, references
Main Term(s): Black/African Americans; Psychosexual behavior; Self concept; Social psychology
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Georgia (USA); Group behavior; Individual behavior; Iowa; Nonviolent behavior; Risk taking behavior; Sexual behavior
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