Transition to First Intercourse among Adolescents: The Intersection of Race/Ethnicity and Immigrant Status

Naomi J. Spence, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Karin Brewster, Florida State University

This paper draws on studies of race differences in sexual activity and recent research on immigrant assimilation in order to extend understanding of adolescent intercourse risk in a population that is increasingly diverse demographically, socially, and economically. We use data from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS: 88/94) to address three questions concerning the association of intercourse risk with race/ethnicity and nativity status: How does intercourse risk for Hispanic and Asian teens compare to the risks for White and for Black teens? To what extent do the risk profiles of Hispanic and Asian teens, relative to those of Black and White youth, reflect the effects of differences in nativity status? And, finally, do the social and economic predictors of non-marital intercourse risk for white and black teens similarly shape intercourse risk among Asian and Hispanic teens? We find that nativity status conditions the association between race/ethnicity and intercourse risk.

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Presented in Poster Session 3