This research was supported by R24-HD058484 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development awarded to the Institute for Population Research at The Ohio State University and the College of Arts and Sciences at the Ohio State University.
Structuring the Future: Anticipated Life Events, Peer Networks, and Adolescent Sexual Behavior†
Version of Record online: 22 AUG 2013
© 2013 Alpha Kappa Delta
Volume 83, Issue 4, pages 537–569, November 2013
How to Cite
Soller, B. and Haynie, D. L. (2013), Structuring the Future: Anticipated Life Events, Peer Networks, and Adolescent Sexual Behavior. Sociological Inquiry, 83: 537–569. doi: 10.1111/soin.12019
- Issue online: 18 OCT 2013
- Version of Record online: 22 AUG 2013
While prior research has established associations between individual expectations of future events and risk behavior among adolescents, the potential effects of peers' future perceptions on risk-taking have been overlooked. We extend prior research by testing whether peers' anticipation of college completion is associated with adolescent sexual risk-taking. We also examine whether adolescents' perceptions of the negative consequences of pregnancy and idealized romantic relationship scripts mediate the association between peers' anticipation of college completion and sexual risk-taking. Results from multivariate regression models with data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) indicate peers' anticipation of college completion is negatively associated with a composite measure of sexual risk-taking and positively associated with the odds of abstaining from sexual intercourse and only engaging in intercourse with a romantic partner (compared to having intercourse with a non-romantic partner). In addition, perceptions of the negative consequences of pregnancy and sexualized relationship scripts appear to mediate a large portion of the association between peers' anticipation of future success and sexual risk-taking and the likelihood of abstaining (but not engaging in romantic-only intercourse). Results from our study underscore the importance of peers in shaping adolescent sexual behavior.