Teens who have sex at an early age increase their risk of delinquency

Sexual intercourse at an early age may hinder social development and contribute to an individual’s participation in delinquent behaviors one year later.

 

A recent article published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence discussed its analysis of prior research centering on the age at which individuals experience sexual intercourse for the first time (e.g. “sexual debut”) compared to the rate of delinquent behaviors one year later. Their study uncovered three important findings. First, their research indicated that earlier sexual debut increases the risks of participating in delinquent behavior one year after the debut. Secondly, the study proves that the timing of sexual debut relative to the individual’s peers also influences the risk of delinquent behavior. For example, individuals who experience their sexual debut before their peers do may increase their propensity toward delinquent behavior compared to experiencing their debut around the time that their peers do. Conversely, the study says that experiencing sexual debut after one’s peers offers a “protective effect” and reduces the chances that the individual will participate in delinquent behavior. Lastly, the study proves that early sexual debut may lead to consequences from delinquent behavior that extend past one year and into young adulthood, such as teenage child birth.1

1Adolescent Sexual Debut and Later Delinquency, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. 36, 2007, pp. 141-152.

 

Printed with permission from the Concerned Parents Report.

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