Jay's World of Abstracts

Jay's World of Abstracts 00033

Strong Religious Views Decrease Teens' Likelihood of Having Sex. Teens' Attitudes Towards Sex Hold More Sway than Religious Views

from a NIH Press Release, April 2, 2003

[Standard disclaimer: The nature of abstracts are that they are pieces of something larger. Not everyone is going to be happy with my choice of abstracts from any larger work, so if you are dissatisfied, I would refer you to the original document, which should be able to be found on the Internet. I encourage others to make their own abstracts to satisfy their needs. I would be happy to publish them here.

Jay's Introduction

Some of our MCCH Council members attended a teleconference on Healthy Teen Development that revealed some interesting new research (which has been abstracted previously). We were concerned because the research tended to discount the influence of religious belief on teen sexual behavior. It seemed other people had the same concern and the NIH listened enough to dig into the research a bit deeper.

Here is their press release on the results.

I produced this abstract using time paid for by the Quay County Maternal Child and Community Health Council with funds from the New Mexico Department of Health.


Religious beliefs influenced whether adolescents will have sex, especially for girls. However, such beliefs only had a minor influence on whether boys had sex. As might be expected, for both girls and boys, more permissive attitudes -meaning more positive or favorable-towards sex increased the likelihood that they would have sex. Having sex did not affect boys' or girls' religious beliefs. After having sex, however, girls' attitudes about sex were likely to become more positive or favorable.

The study also found that teen boys are more likely to have positive attitudes about sex, so that having sex doesn't significantly change their attitudes, as it does girls'.

Another finding is that adolescents' own religious and sexual attitudes were more important predictors of their subsequent sexual behavior than were their parents' attitudes toward adolescent sex.

"Parents' religious and sexual attitudes don't directly affect their children's decision to have sex, but they do influence the formation of their children's own attitudes toward sex," says Meier.

JWA Home