Correlates of early sexual activity among Hispanic children in middle adolescence

Rafaela R. Robles, Tomás D. Matos, Juan C. Reyes, Héctor M. Colón, Juan Negrón, José Calderón, Elizabeth W. Shepard


Objective: We analyzed early sexual activity among Hispanic 14 to 15-year-old adolescents residing in a poor neighborhood in Puerto Rico. Methods: Information from a sample of 325 adolescents was collected from a randomized sample of community households. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify the variables that help explained adolescents’ sexual behavior. Results: Adolescents whose parents reported poor communication and poor parent control were more likely to engage in early sexual activity that those peers that did not report this type of family relationship. Adolescents who reported poor parent bonding and lack of discipline were more likely to engage in early sexual relationships. Conclusions: Intervention and prevention programs need to be aware and address the role of the Hispanic culture in gender differences in early sexual activity in adolescence. If sexual norms related to gender role are changing in Puerto Rico, is a question that needs to be answered in future research.

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