Religious and Social Influences on the Sexual Behavior Practices of Emerging Adults
Research has demonstrated an inverse relationship between religion and sexual behavior. However, much of this research has been directed towards adolescents despite empirical evidence suggesting that emerging adults engage in more frequent and riskier sexual behavior than adolescents. Moreover, scholars are increasingly accepting emerging adulthood as a distinct developmental period, although research pertaining to this demographic is lacking. Little is known about influences implicated in the sexual behaviors of emerging adults but researchers have cited peer influence and religiosity as important factors in the sexual decision-making of emerging adults. Consequently, the present study investigates the relationship between religiosity and sexual behavior of emerging adults through examination of the moderating effects of attendance at a private religious versus a public secular college or university as well as the moderating effects of perceived peer sexual behavior. The findings of the study were consistent with previous research identifying an inverse relationship between reported religiousness and sexual behavior. Additional findings revealed attending a public secular university predicted higher levels of overall sexual activity and higher levels of reported perceived peer sexual activity predicted higher levels of overall sexual activity. These findings are discussed in light of social control theory and reference group theory.
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)
Simpson, Stephen W.
Young adults, Sexual behavior, Sex