Adolescent women's sports involvement and sexual behavior/health: A process-level investigation

Stephanie Jacobs Lehman, Susan Silverberg Koerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This multimethod study explored the promising link between organized sports involvement during the high school years and sexual behavior/health among 176 adolescent women. Using more sensitive and appropriate measures than those in existing studies and directed, in part, by cultural resource theory, this study helped to fill a gap in the literature by exploring potential mediators (i.e., functional body orientation and self-empowerment/efficacy) of that link. Results from the quantitative data indicated that adolescent women's involvement in organized team sports was favorably associated with each of the following: (a) sexual-risk-taking behavior, (b) sexual/reproductive health-seeking behavior, and (c) sexual/reproductive health. In addition, both functional body orientation and self-empowerment/efficacy emerged as mediators in the associations between sports involvement and sexual behavior/health among adolescent women. Content analysis of participant responses to open-ended items provided further confirmation of those mediating effects. Implications for the development of sports and community programs focused on the prevention of teenage pregnancy and STDs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-455
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescent women
  • sexual behavior/health
  • sports involvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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