Why Virginity Pledges Succeed or Fail: The Moderating Effect of Religious Commitment Versus Religious Participation
- 747 Downloads
Over the past two decades, virginity pledges have proliferated in the US, despite mixed results regarding their effectiveness. Few studies have examined possible mechanisms that may shed light on why pledges work for some individuals but not others. Using a sample of emerging-adults aged 18–24 years old (n = 1,380), we examine the influence of religiosity on pledge signing and adherence, specifically whether the effectiveness of pledges is moderated by religiosity. Findings show that while religious participation is positively associated with signing a pledge, there is a moderating effect of religious commitment. That is, when religious commitment is high, adherence to the pledge is greater. However, for pledge signers with low religious commitment, there are unintended negative consequences with regard to increased participation in risky sexual behaviors, whether compared to other people who signed the pledge who are equally committed to their religion or to individuals who have never taken such a pledge. Implications for research and policy are discussed.
KeywordsSexual behavior Virginity pledges Religiosity Emerging adults Health behavior
- Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Chaturvedi, A. K., Engels, E. A., Pfeifer, R. M., Hernandez, B. Y., Xiao, W., Kim, E., et al. (2011). Human papillomavirus and rising oropharyngeal cancer incidence in the United States. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 29(32), 4294–4301. doi:10.1200/JCO.2011.36.459.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Conger, R. D., & Elder, G. H. (1994). Families in troubled times. New York: Aldine DeGruyter.Google Scholar
- D’Souza, G., Kreimer, A. R., Viscidi, R., Pawlita, M., Fakhry, C., Koch, W. M., et al. (2007). Case-control study of human papillomavirus and oropharyngeal cancer. New England Journal of Medicine, 356, 1944–1956.Google Scholar
- Durkheim, E. (1951). Suicide: A study in sociology. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Ehrilch, J. S. (2006). From age or consent laws to the “Silver Ring Thing”: The regulation of adolescent female sexuality. Health Matrix, 16, 151–181.Google Scholar
- Giuliano, A. R., Lazcano-Ponce, E., Villa, L. L., Flores, R., Salmeron, J., Lee, J., et al. (2008). The human papillomavirus infection in men study: Human papillomavirus and type distribution among men residing in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. Biomarkers and Prevention, 17, 805–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mayer, R. (1996). Trends in opposition to comprehensive sexuality education in public schools in the United States. Report: SEICUS. 24.Google Scholar
- SPSS Inc. Released (2008). SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 17.0. Chicago: SPSS Inc.Google Scholar
- Simons, R. L., Simons, L. G., & Wallace, L. E. (2004). Families, delinquency, and crime: Linking society’s most basic institution to antisocial behavior. Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company.Google Scholar
- Stein, B. (2010). Health bill restores $250 million in abstinence-education funds. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/26/AR2010032602457.html.
- Weber, M. (1958). The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar