Abstinence - Archive

March 2007: Abstinence / Sexual Activity

Study Finds Early Sex Linked to Teen Delinquency Which Can Last into Adulthood

Sexualized Ads, TV, Music Videos, Billboards, Harm Girls' Mental Health… 

Study Finds Early Sex Linked to Teen Delinquency Which Can Last into Adulthood

Teens who start having sex significantly earlier than their peers also show higher rates of delinquency in later years, new research shows. A national study of more than 7,000 youth found that adolescents who had sex early showed a 20 percent increase in delinquent acts one year later compared to those whose first sexual experience occurred at the average age for their school.

 In contrast, those teens who waited longer than average to have sex had delinquency rates 50 percent lower a year later compared to average teens. And those trends continued up to six years.

In contrast, those teens who waited longer than average to have sex had delinquency rates 50 percent lower a year later compared to average teens. And those trends continued up to six years.

Stacy Armour, a doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State University, co-authored the study with Dana Haynie, associate professor of sociology at Ohio State . Their results appear in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. An initial survey was conducted in 1994-95 of students from across the country in grades 7 to 12. These students attended 132 high schools and their "feeder" middle schools.

This study included students who reported they were virgins in this first survey. They were then surveyed again one year later, and a third time six years later in 2002.

In this study, the average age of sexual debut – age at first intercourse – was calculated for each school in the sample.  "That way, the respondents in the study are compared to the peers in their own school, rather than an arbitrary age that is deemed the average age for everyone," Armour said.

The average age for sexual debut in this study ranged from 11.25 to 17.5 years of age, depending on the individual schools.  Adolescents in the sample who had their first sexual encounter about one year or more before average for their school (the exact length differed for each school) were considered early.

To determine rates of delinquency, students in the survey were asked how often in the past year they participated in a variety of delinquent acts, including painting graffiti, deliberately damaging property, stealing, or selling drugs.

The study found that youth who had their sexual debut between the first and second surveys showed a 58 percent increase in delinquency compared to those who remained virgins. But the increases were more pronounced for those who were younger than their peers when they first had sex.

The researchers found that of those respondents who had their first sexual experience between the first and second surveys, 9 percent had started significantly earlier than their peers, 58 percent were average, and 33 percent experienced sexual intercourse significantly later than others.

The researchers took into account a variety of factors that could affect how long adolescents wait to have sex, including race, family structure, socioeconomic status, school performance, depression, how close the teens felt to their parents, and other factors.

The negative effects of early sex seem to last through adolescence and into early adulthood.  When the same respondents were surveyed again in 2002 – when most were between the ages of 18 and 26 – results showed that the age of first sex was still associated with levels of delinquency.

See the full study online here:
http://springerlink.metapress.com/content/415qm4t173260t22/f
[27Feb07, COLUMBUS, Ohio, LifeSiteNews.com]

 

 

American Psychological Association: Remove All Sexualized Images of Women in Media
Meta Analysis finds Sexualized Ads, TV, Music Videos, Billboards, Harm Girls' Mental Health

A report of the American Psychological Association (APA) released 19Feb07 found evidence that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls' self-image and healthy development.

To complete the report, the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls studied published research on the content and effects of virtually every form of media, including television, music videos, music lyrics, magazines, movies, video games and the Internet.  They also examined recent advertising campaigns and merchandising of products aimed toward girls.

Sexualization was defined by the task force as occurring when a person's value comes only from her/his sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics, and when a person is sexually objectified, e.g., made into a thing for another's sexual use.

Examples of the sexualization of girls in all forms of media including visual media and other forms of media such as music lyrics abound.  And, according to the report, have likely increased in number as "new media" have been created and access to media has become omnipresent.  The influence and attitudes of parents, siblings, and friends can also add to the pressures of sexualization.

"The consequences of the sexualization of girls in media today are very real and are likely to be a negative influence on girls' healthy development," says Eileen L. Zurbriggen, PhD, chair of the APA Task Force and associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "We have ample evidence to conclude that sexualization has negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development."

Research evidence shows that the sexualization of girls negatively affects girls and young women across a variety of health domains:

Cognitive and Emotional Consequences: Sexualization and objectification undermine a person's confidence in and comfort with her own body, leading to emotional and self-image problems, such as shame and anxiety.

Mental and Physical Health: Research links sexualization with three of the most common mental health problems diagnosed in girls and women-eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression or depressed mood.

Sexual Development: Research suggests that the sexualization of girls has negative consequences on girls' ability to develop a healthy sexual self-image.

According to the task force report, parents can play a major role in contributing to the sexualization of their daughters or can play a protective and educative role. The APA report calls on parents, school officials, and all health professionals to be alert for the potential impact of sexualization on girls and young women. Schools, the APA says, should teach media literacy skills to all students and should include information on the negative effects of the sexualization of girls in media literacy and sex education programs.

"As a society, we need to replace all of these sexualized images with ones showing girls in positive settings-ones that show the uniqueness and competence of girls," states Dr. Zurbriggen. "The goal should be to deliver messages to all adolescents-boys and girls-that lead to healthy sexual development."

See the APA's full report online here
http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/sexualizationrep.pdf

[19Feb07,  APA, DC, LifeSiteNews.com, 19Feb; http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/feb/07021907.html]