Adolescent religiosity and sexuality: An investigation of reciprocal influences

Sam A. Hardy, Marcela Raffaelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examined potential bi-directional associations between religiosity and first sexual intercourse. The sample, drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, included 303 teens (22% Hispanic, 35% Black, 43% White; 53% male) aged 15-16 in 1996 and 17-18 in 1998. All teens included in the sample were virgins at Time 1. In the longitudinal analyses, higher Time 1 religiosity (a composite of importance of religion and frequency of church attendance) was associated with a lower likelihood of first sexual intercourse between Time 1 and Time 2. However, transition to sexual activity between Time 1 and Time 2 was not significantly related to Time 2 religiosity. Thus, results do not support a bi-directional association; instead, it appears that teens with higher levels of religiosity tend to delay sexual involvement more than those with lower levels of religiosity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-739
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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