Gender Differences in Sexual Activity: What Role do Parents Play in Shaping Behaviors?

Elizabeth Cooksey, Ohio State University
Frank Mott, Ohio State University

The social context in which adolescent sexual activity occurs has changed considerably in the recent past. Our prior research suggests that the effects of maternal sexual experience have differential impact on male and female teens. In this paper, we will attempt to unpack potentially different messages about sex given by mothers who experienced early sexual initiation themselves by using current data on mother child interactions relevant to sexual activity. We use data from the 1979-2004 waves of the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) and their associated child files from 1986 onwards, plus the 1996-2006 NLSY79 Young Adult data. Our sample includes youth from two different cohorts: those who are 14-16 in 1996 and those who are 14-16 in 2006. Results from this project will be an important step forward to better understanding the familial dynamics of a key dimension of the transition to adulthood.

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Presented in Poster Session 5