An ecological analysis of adolescent females' perseptions of sex : implications for onset of sexual intercourse Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/s7526g80x

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  • This study explores the intrapersonal and interpersonal ecological factors that influence adolescent females' perceptions of sex and the extent to which their perceptions of sex impact onset of sexual intercourse as they mature. Particular attention is given to how depression influences individual, personal and social factors in an adolescent female's life, to shape her attitudes towards sex, and determine her engagement in sex as she reaches young adulthood. Ecological Systems Theory is used to examine the extent to which individual, family, and social factors impact adolescent females' perceptions of sex and onset of sexual intercourse. Data are from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Multinomial logistic regression reveals that the factors associated with less positive perceptions of sex are age, self-esteem, sexual intercourse, religiosity and connection to mother and peers, as well as, depression in combination with religiosity and connection to one's peers. More positive perceptions of sex are linked with depression, connection to one's school, as well as, depression in conjunction with aging and sexual intercourse. Results from the logistic regression analysis determines that less positive perceptions of sex delay onset of sexual intercourse among adolescent females; however, adolescent females' attitudes towards sex vary greatly in determining onset of sexual intercourse as they mature. Furthermore, there is no association between depression and adolescent females' perceptions of sex in predicting onset of sexual intercourse as they progress into young adulthood. The findings from this study suggest that programs focused on shaping attitudes toward sex should assist young women in forming a definite opinion about their decision to have sexual intercourse or abstain from engagement in sexual intercourse. A female's age, sense of self-worth, emotional state, and religiosity as well as the strength of her relationships with parents, peers and school must be considered when addressing her sexual health. This investigation supports the use of Ecological Systems Theory as a useful theoretical framework for examining the factors that influence adolescent females' perceptions of sex and engagement in sexual intercourse. A more cognitive investigation of the relationship between depression and the factors in an adolescent female's life that influence her attitudes towards sex and how depression affects an adolescent female's perception of sex and her decision to engage in sexual intercourse is warranted as this study finds only minor support for the use of Ecological Systems Theory when exploring the association between depression and adolescent female sexual health.
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