, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 521-530

Educational correlates of adolescents' sexual attitudes and behavior

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Parents' educational attainment is known to be related to their children's educational aspirations and plans, and these variables have been presumed to be inversely related to early adolescent sexual activity. Relationships between these educational variables and adolescents' sexual attitudes and behavior were analyzed in a sample of 810 high school students from two Western states. Parents' educational background was positively related to adolescents' educational plans and performance, and these educational variables were inversely related to adolescents' premarital sexual attitudes and intercourse experience. It seems most plausible to conclude that parents' educational backgrounds affect children's educational interests and grades, which, in turn, affect adolescent sexuality. However, the observed associations also could be interpreted to suggest that early sexual behavior reduces adolescents' educational plans and lowers their school grades.

The data analyzed here were collected as part of a prevention demonstration grant (APH 003-6-01-0) awarded to Terrance D. Olson by the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs. This paper is based on the master's thesis of the second author.
Received Ph.D. in Family Sociology from the University of Minnesota. Research interests concern the antecedents and consequences of early adolescent sexual behavior.
Received a master's degree from the Department of Family and Human Development at Utah State University. Interested in the problem behaviors of young teenagers.