Patterns of sexual and romantic behavior have changed significantly over the past half century. Sexual transition occurs earlier and outside of marriage, lifetime numbers of sexual partners have increased, and entry into marriage occurs later or not all. These behavioral and attitudinal changes have occurred in a context in which other developmental transitions and traditional sociological markers of adulthood are delayed. Embedded in these dramatic population changes are conflicting beliefs about optimal pathways to healthy sexuality and quality of life. Despite public policy emphasis on a pathway defined by abstinence until marriage, there is little prospective documentation of sexual trajectories from adolescence into adulthood or information about the enduring developmental and health implications, if any, of different sexual and romantic pathways. Using data from Waves I - IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), this project will: 1) examine trajectories defined by: I) timing, emergence of sexual acts, and temporal spacing;II) partner accumulation, frequency of activity and risk-taking (level and slope);and III) changes in indicators of sexual orientation over time;and determine whether trajectories vary by biological sex, race/ethnicity, or physical disability;2) test hypotheses derived from Life Course and other developmental theory about how the interactions of biological characteristics, psychological factors, and life experiences sustain or change sexual and romantic trajectories across the life course;and 3) identify concurrent and later health correlates of trajectories, and where associations exist, test hypotheses about mediating mechanisms. Longitudinal analyses will include discrete hazard models, multiple decrement life table analysis, regression models for nonhomogeneous Poisson process to estimate individual-specific trajectories, multinomial logistic generalized linear mixed models, latent class growth models to cluster trajectories by type, multivariate transition models for sequencing and time between onset of different behaviors, and dual trajectory models to capture dynamic system interactions between change processes. Identifying trajectories of experience and their health implications for persons embedded in different cultural contexts will enrich developmental theory about diverse forms of positive development, and will provide empirical evidence based on representative samples to guide the development of public health policy and programs.

Public Health Relevance

Currently premarital sexual debut is the norm in the U.S.;however current educational policy rests on the presumed benefits of abstinence until marriage. There is little empirical data to indicate types of sexual patterns (e.g., timing of debut, premarital versus marital activity) that optimize health and psychosocial adjustment, and little consensus on these issues. Achievement of this project's aims will provide evidence to guide the development of public health policy and programs.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01HD057046-05
Application #
8609497
Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Newcomer, Susan
Project Start
2010-03-01
Project End
2015-02-28
Budget Start
2014-03-01
Budget End
2015-02-28
Support Year
5
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$297,186
Indirect Cost
$67,023
Name
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Department
Other Health Professions
Type
Schools of Public Health
DUNS #
608195277
City
Chapel Hill
State
NC
Country
United States
Zip Code
27599
Landor, Antoinette M; Halpern, Carolyn Tucker (2016) Prevalence of High-Risk Sexual Behaviors Among Monoracial and Multiracial Groups from a National Sample: Are Multiracial Young Adults at Greater Risk? Arch Sex Behav 45:467-75
Reese, Bianka M; Halpern, Carolyn T (2016) Attachment to Conventional Institutions and Adolescent Rapid Repeat Pregnancy: A Longitudinal National Study Among Adolescents in the United States. Matern Child Health J :
Wilkinson, Andra L; Halpern, Carolyn Tucker; Herring, Amy H (2016) Directions of the relationship between substance use and depressive symptoms from adolescence to young adulthood. Addict Behav 60:64-70
Landor, Antoinette M; Halpern, Carolyn Tucker (2016) The Enduring Significance of Skin Tone: Linking Skin Tone, Attitudes Toward Marriage and Cohabitation, and Sexual Behavior. J Youth Adolesc 45:986-1002
Wilkinson, Andra L; Halpern, Carolyn Tucker; Herring, Amy H et al. (2016) Testing Longitudinal Relationships Between Binge Drinking, Marijuana Use, and Depressive Symptoms and Moderation by Sex. J Adolesc Health 59:681-687
Goldberg, Shoshana K; Reese, Bianka M; Halpern, Carolyn T (2016) Teen Pregnancy Among Sexual Minority Women: Results From the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. J Adolesc Health 59:429-37
Strutz, Kelly L; Herring, Amy H; Halpern, Carolyn Tucker (2015) Health disparities among young adult sexual minorities in the U.S. Am J Prev Med 48:76-88
Choukas-Bradley, Sophia; Goldberg, Shoshana K; Widman, Laura et al. (2015) Demographic and developmental differences in the content and sequence of adolescents' ideal romantic relationship behaviors. J Adolesc 45:112-26
Goldberg, Shoshana K; Haydon, Abigail A; Herring, Amy H et al. (2014) Longitudinal consistency in self-reported age of first vaginal intercourse among young adults. J Sex Res 51:97-106
Reese, Bianka M; Choukas-Bradley, Sophia; Herring, Amy H et al. (2014) Correlates of adolescent and young adult sexual initiation patterns. Perspect Sex Reprod Health 46:211-21

Showing the most recent 10 out of 20 publications