Journal of Sex Research
This study examined pathways to early coital debut among early to middle adolescent girls in the United States. In a two-year longitudinal study of 104 adolescent girls, recursive partitioning (RP) analyses were conducted to examine the specific factors that were related to engaging in first intercourse by the 10th grade among adolescent girls who had not yet engaged in sexual intercourse by the 8th grade. RP analyses identified subsamples of girls who had low, medium, and high likelihoods of engaging in early coital debut based on six variables (i.e., school aspirations, early physical intimacy experiences, depression, body objectification, body image, and relationship inauthenticity). For example, girls in the lowest likelihood group (3% had engaged in sex by the 10th grade) reported no prior experiences with being touched under their clothes, low body objectification, high aspirations to complete graduate education, and low depressive symptoms; girls in the highest likelihood group (75% had engaged in sex by the 10th grade) also reported no prior experiences with being touched under their clothes, but had high levels of body objectification. The implications of these analyses for the development of female adolescent sexuality, as well as for advances in quantitative methods, are discussed.
Original Publication Citation
Pearson, M. R., Kholodkov, T., Henson, J. M., & Impett, E. A. (2012). Pathways to early coital debut for adolescent girls: A recursive partitioning analysis. Journal of Sex Research, 49(1), 13-26. doi:10.1080/00224499.2011.565428
Pearson, Matthew R.; Kholodkov, Tatyana; Henson, James M.; and Impett, Emily A., "Pathways to Early Coital Debut for Adolescent Girls: A Recursive Partitioning Analysis" (2012). Psychology Faculty Publications. 71.