February 2014, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 335-344,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 11 Jul 2013
Same-Sex Sexual Attraction Does Not Spread in Adolescent Social Networks
Peers have a powerful effect on adolescents’ beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Here, we examine the role of social networks in the spread of attitudes towards sexuality using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Although we found evidence that both sexual activity (OR = 1.79) and desire to have a romantic relationship (OR = 2.69) may spread from person to person, attraction to same sex partners did not spread (OR = 0.96). Analyses of comparable power to those that suggest positive and significant peer-to-peer influence in sexual behavior fail to demonstrate a significant relationship on sexual attraction between friends or siblings. These results suggest that peer influence has little or no effect on the tendency toward heterosexual or homosexual attraction in teens, and that sexual orientation is not transmitted via social networks.
Adamczyk, A., & Felson, J. (2006). Friends’ religiosity and first sex. Social Science Research, 35, 924–947.CrossRef
Bailey, J. M., & Benishay, D. S. (1993). Familial aggregation of female sexual orientation. American Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 272–277.PubMed
Bailey, J. M., Bobrow, D., Wolfe, M., & Mikach, S. (1995). Sexual orientation of adult sons of gay fathers. Developmental Psychology, 31, 124–129.CrossRef
Bailey, J. M., Pillard, R., Dawood, K., Miller, M., Farrer, L., Trivedi, S., & Murphy, R. L. (1999). A family history study of male sexual orientation using three independent samples. Behavior Genetics, 29, 79–86.
Batagelj, V., & Mrvar, A. (2011). Program for analysis and visualization of large networks (version 2.01) [Software]. Available from http://vlado.fmf.uni-lj.si/pub/networks/Pajek/.
Bell, A. P., Weinberg, M. S., & Hammersmith, S. K. (1981). Sexual preference: Its development in men and women. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Bem, D. J. (1996). Exotic becomes erotic: A developmental theory of sexual orientation. Psychological Review, 103, 320–335.CrossRef
Blumenfield, W., & Raymond, D. (1993). Looking at gay and lesbian life. Boston: Beacon Press.
Bollen, K., & Stine, R. (1990). Direct and indirect effects: Classical and bootstrap estimates of variability. In C. C. Clogg (Ed.), Sociological methodology (pp. 115–140). Oxford, England: Blackwell.
Cavanagh, S. E. (2004). The sexual debut of girls in early adolescence: The intersection of race, pubertal timing, and friendship group characteristics. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 14, 285–312.CrossRef
Christakis, N. A., & Fowler, J. H. (2008b). The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years. New England Journal of Medicine, 357, 370–379.CrossRef
Christakis, N. A., & Fowler, J. H. (2009). Connected: The surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives. New York: Little Brown.
Connolly, J. A., Craig, W., Goldberg, A., & Pepler, D. (1999). Conceptions of cross-sex friendships and romantic relationships in early adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 28, 481–494.CrossRef
D’Augelli, A. R. (1989). Lesbians’ and gay men’s experiences of discrimination and harassment in a university community. American Journal of Community Psychology, 17, 312–317.
DiBlasio, F. A., & Benda, B. B. (1990). Adolescent sexual behavior: Multivariate analysis of a social learning model. Journal of Adolescent Research, 5, 449–496.CrossRef
Furman, W., & Wehner, E. (1994). Romantic views: Toward a theory of adolescent romantic relationships. In R. Montemayor, G. R. Adams, & G. P. Gullota (Eds.), Advances in adolescent development: Vol. 6. Relationships during adolescence (pp. 168–195). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Furman, W., & Wehner, E. (1997). Adolescent romantic relationships: A developmental perspective. In S. Shulman & W. A. Collins (Eds.), New directions for child development: Adolescent romantic relationships (pp. 21–36). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Furstenberg, F. F., Moore, K. A., & Peterson, J. L. (1986). Sex education and sexual experience among adolescents. American Journal of Public Health, 75, 1221–1222.
Golombok, S., & Tasker, F. (1996). Do parents influence the sexual orientation of their children? Findings from a longitudinal study of lesbian families. Developmental Psychology, 32, 3–11.CrossRef
Harris, K. M. (2009). The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), Waves I & II, 1994–1996; Wave III, 2001–2002; Wave IV, 2007–2009 [machine-readable data file and documentation]. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jackson, C., Geddes, R., Haw, S., & Frank, J. (2011). Interventions to prevent substance use and risky sexual behavior in young people: A systematic review. Addiction, 110, 20–28.
Jessor, R., Costa, F., Jessor, S. L., & Donovan, J. E. (1983). Time of first intercourse: A prospective study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 608–626.CrossRef
King, G., Tomz, M., & Wittenberg, J. (2000). Making the most of statistical analyses: Improving interpretation and presentation. American Journal of Political Science, 44, 341–355.CrossRef
Liang, K. Y., & Zeger, S. L. (1986). Longitudinal data analysis using generalized linear models. Biometrika, 73, 13–22.CrossRef
MacCullough, M. J., & Waddington, J. L. (1981). Neuroendocrine mechanisms and the aetiology of male and female homosexuality. British Journal of Psychiatry, 139, 341–345.CrossRef
Manning, W. D., Longmore, M. A., & Giordano, P. C. (2005). Adolescents’ involvement in non-romantic sexual activity. Social Science Research, 34, 384–407.CrossRef
Pillard, R. C. (1990). The Kinsey scale: Is it familial? In D. P McWhirter, S. A. Sanders, & J. M. Reinisch (Eds.), Homosexuality/heterosexuality: Concepts of sexual orientation (pp. 80–100). New York: Oxford University Press.
Rice, G., Anderson, C., & Ebers, G. (1995). Male homosexuality: Absence of linkage to microsatellite markers at Xq28. Science, 284, 665–667.CrossRef
Rosenbaum, A., Rabenhorst, M. M., Reddy, M. K., Fleming, M. T., & Howells, N. L. (2006). A comparison of methods for collecting self-report data on sensitive topics. Violence Victims, 21, 461–471.PubMed
Rotherbam-Borus, M. J., Reid, H., Rosario, M., & Kasen, S. (1995). Determinants of safer sex patterns among gay/bisexual male adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 18, 3–15.CrossRef
Ryan, C., Futterman, D., & Stine, K. (1998). Helping our hidden youth. American Journal of Nursing, 98, 37–44.PubMed
Savin-Williams, R. C. (2006). Who’s gay? Does it matter? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 40–44.CrossRef
Sieving, R. E., Eisenberg, M. E., Pettingell, S., & Skay, C. (2006). Friends’ influence on adolescents’ first sexual intercourse. Perspectives in Sexual Reproductive Health, 38, 13–19.CrossRef
Udry, J. R. (1988). Biological predispositions and social control in adolescent sexual behavior. American Sociological Review, 53, 709–722.CrossRef
Wainwright, J. L., Russell, S. T., & Patterson, C. J. (2004). Psychosocial adjustment, school outcomes, and romantic relationships of adolescents with same-sex parents. Child Development, 75, 1886–1898.CrossRef
Wolfe, D. A., Jaffe, P., & Crooks, C. (2006). Adolescent risk behaviors: Why teens experiment and strategies to keep them safe. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- Same-Sex Sexual Attraction Does Not Spread in Adolescent Social Networks
- Open Access
- Available under Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Archives of Sexual Behavior
Volume 43, Issue 2 , pp 335-344
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- Sexual attraction
- Sexual orientation
- Social networks
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Psychology, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL, 60064, USA
- 2. Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA, USA
- 3. School of Public Policy, University College London, London, UK
- 4. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics, London, UK
- 5. Department of Medicine and Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
- 6. Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
- 7. Division of Medical Genetics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
- 8. Department of Political Science, University of California, La Jolla, CA, USA