Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 1889–1904 | Cite as

The Role of Religious Socialization and Religiosity in African American and Caribbean Black Adolescents’ Sexual Initiation

  • Tamara Taggart
  • Nisha Gottfredson
  • Wizdom Powell
  • Susan Ennett
  • Linda M. Chatters
  • Lori Carter-Edwards
  • Eugenia Eng
Original Paper


This study determined the nature of the associations between religious socialization, religiosity, and adolescent sexual initiation. Data originated from the National Survey of American Life-Adolescent (n = 1170), a nationally representative study of black adolescents. Factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and logistic regression were used to evaluate hypotheses. Results indicated that as black adolescents received more messages about religious beliefs and practices, their religiosity was greater and, in turn, they were less likely to report sexual initiation; findings varied by ethnicity, gender, and age. Findings contribute to understanding religious socialization and its association with sexual initiation.


Religious socialization Religiosity Black adolescents Sexual initiation 



The National Survey of American Life (NSAL) is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; U01-MH57716) with supplemental support from the OBSSR Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research and the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Michigan. Dr. Taggart was supported by a pre-doctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (T32AI007001), a post-doctoral fellowship supported by Award Numbers T32MH020031 and P30MH062294 from the National Institute of Mental Health, and was a Scholar with the HIV/AIDS, Substance Abuse, and Trauma Training Program (HA-STTP), at the University of California, Los Angeles; supported through an award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R25DA035692). Dr. Powell was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K01DA032611). Dr. Chatters was supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences: Promoting Ethnic Diversity in Public Health (R25GM058641).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the original study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDSYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.Public Health Leadership Program, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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