Correlates and Consequences of Early Initiation of Sexual Intercourse

Authors

  • Ann L. Coker,

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      Ann L. Coker, PhD. Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

  • Donna L. Richter,

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      Donna L. Richter, EdD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Health Promotion and Education, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

  • Robert F. Valois,

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      Robert F. Valois, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, Dept. of Health Promotion and Education, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

  • Robert E. McKeown,

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      Robert E. McKeown, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

  • Carol Z. Garrison,

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      Carol Z. Garrison, PhD, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

  • Murray L. Vincent

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      Murray L. Vincent, EdD, Professor, Dept. of Health Promotion and Education, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208


  • This research was funded by Cooperative Agreement #U63/CCU 802750-03, Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga., and Cooperative Agreement with the South Carolina Dept. of Education.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: This cross-sectional analysis of the 1991 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey explored factors associated with an early age at first sexual intercourse. Almost 18% of White males, 49% of Black males, 5% of White females and 12% of Black females were sexually active before age 13. Carrying a weapon to school, fighting, and early (< age 13) experimentation with cigarettes and alcohol were associated with early initiation of sexual activity for all four race and gender groupings. Those initiating sexual activity early had greater numbers of partners but were 50% less likely to use condoms regularly and were two-seven times more likely to have been pregnant or caused a pregnancy. Females who initiated sexual activity early were more likely to have had a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Interventions to postpone sexual activity need to be tailored to the ethnic and gender differences observed in these analyses. Interventions must begin before age 13 and should be comprehensive school-based efforts. (J Sch Health. 1994; 64(9): 372–377)

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