You are on page 1of 18

DEMOGRAPHY

Volume 24, Number 3

August 1987

THE INFLUENCE OF THE FAMILY ON PREMARITAL SEXUAL


ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR
Arland Thornton
Donald Camburn
Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
48106

INTRODUCTION

Adolescent sexuality, pregnancy, and childbearing have recently become important elements of demographic processes in the United States. An increasing number
of young unmarried Americans are sexually active before marriage; and despite more
widespread use of contraception, there are now more pregnancies, births, and
abortions to young unmarried women (Zelnik and Kantner, 1980a). Accompanying
these shifts in adolescent sexuality and fertility have been sharp increases in age at
marriage, independent living by young people, paid employment by mothers, and
divorce. Concurrently, marital fertility has declined.
The socialization of attitudes concerning sexuality and the learning of appropriate
norms of sexual behavior begin early in life and are influenced by the environment
of the home and the values and behavior of parents. The family is a central institution
in the formation of sexual attitudes and behavior because it provides role models, a
social and economic environment, and standards of sexual conduct (Fox, 1981;
Furstenberg, 1981; Herceg-Baron and Furstenberg, 1982).
The specific dimensions of family life influencing the formation of attitudinal and
behavioral patterns among adolescent children are still only dimly understood,
despite the recognition of the importance of the family and awareness of the
simultaneous trends in family life and adolescent sexuality (Fox, 1981). The purpose
of this paper is to examine the role of family values, religious affiliation and
commitment, as well as marital, childbearing, and labor force experience in the
development of sexual attitudes and behavior. A model of the influence of the family
on adolescent sexual attitudes and behavior is developed that focuses on the
processes of family influence and incorporates attitudinal and behavioral information
from both parents and their children. This model is evaluated empirically with data
from a study of mothers and their children, using statistical techniques that allow
measurement error to be taken into account.
THEORETICAL BACKGROUND

Theoretical and empirical investigations of adolescent sexuality and childbearing


have identified a number of avenues through which the parental family may influence
the attitudes and behavior of children. We focus on four aspects of the parental
family that previous literature has suggested are particularly important determinants
of adolescent attitudes and behavior: the attitudes of the parents concerning
adolescent sexuality; the marital and childbearing behavior of parents, including
experience with marital dissolution, remarriage, childbearing, and out-of-wedlock
pregnancies; the religious environment of the parental home; and the educational and
work patterns of the parents. This section identifies several ways in which these
aspects can influence adolescents.
323

324

DEMOGRAPHY,volume 24, number 3, August 1987

Attitudes of Parents
The attitudes and beliefs of parents form the basic foundation for the values of
their children. Although direct communication between parents and children about
sexuality is limited in many families (Fox, 1981; Furstenberg et al., 1984), parents
may be sources of guidelines for children as they both indirectly and directly transmit
their standards of conduct during the socialization process. Parental attitudes and
values concerning premarital sexuality may also affect their own patterns of
discipline and childrearing, which, in turn, influence the behavior of their children.
Parents with restrictive attitudes toward adolescent sexuality probably structure
their own activities to provide more supervision of their adolescent children and
allow their children less autonomy, which reduces adolescent sexual behavior. Our
theoretical approach to this issue emphasizes the importance of actual attitudes and
values of parents in the formation of children's attitudes and behaviors. Of course,
the emphasis on actual parental attitudes requires data from both parents and
children, a requirement that is seldom met in research in this area (Newcomer and
Udry, 1984).
Religious Affiliation and Commitment
The religious affiliation and commitment of parents can play an important role in
determining the values of parents and their children. Membership in a religious group
that sets forth traditional, clear, and stringent prescriptions concerning adolescent
sexuality may influence both the behavior and attitudes of young people. Some
previous research has shown that young people who identify with a fundamentalist
Protestant group have less permissive attitudes toward premarital sex and are less
sexually active (DeLamater and MacCorquodale, 1979).
The frequency with which parents attend religious functions may determine the
extent of children's exposure to religious influence. Parents who attend services
frequently may be more closely aligned with official religious practices and beliefs.
This alignment is likely to influence the children indirectly through the attitudes of
parents and directly by placing children in an environment that facilitates the
transmission of restrictive values of adolescent sexuality. Research has shown that
the religiosity of young people is substantially correlated with their attitudes and
behavior (Chilman, 1983; DeLamater and MacCorquodale, 1979; Mott, 1984; Zelnik,
Kantner, and Ford, 1981), but little is known of the role of parental religious
participation and commitment.
Marital and Childbearing Behavior of Parents
An emerging body of research suggests that parental behavior strongly influences
adolescent attitudes and behavior. Newcomer and Udry (1984) reported positive
correlations between the behavior of mothers during their adolescent years and that
of their daughters. They posited biological as well as sociological mechanisms in this
intergenerational transmission of behavior. 1
Although premarital pregnancies have not been prevalent in the past, substantial
numbers of the parents oftoday's adolescents were pregnant at marriage (O'Connell
and Rogers, 1984). A premarital pregnancy probably reflects a more permissive
attitude, and to the extent that children are aware of a parental premarital
conception, they may view their parents as more permissive in their attitudes about
premarital sex, independently of actual parental attitudes. This expectation is
consistent with Inazu and Fox's (1980) findings that girls whose mothers were
unmarried at the birth of their first child were more likely to be sexually experienced.

Family Influence on Premarital Sexual Attitudes and Behavior

325

Marital dissolution and remarriage have far-reaching consequences both for


parents and for their children (Moore, Peterson, and Furstenberg, 1984). For most
Americans, divorce only reflects disenchantment with a specific spouse and not the
rejection of relationships with those of the opposite sex. Many separated and
divorced Americans reenter the courtship system in which they must directly and
personally confront the development of relationships as a single person. Many
continue sexual activity after their marriage has ended, and research by Sweet (1979)
in the United States and by Kiernan (1983) in Great Britain indicates that substantial
fractions live together with a person of the opposite sex without marrying. We expect
that many children know whether their parents are sexually active after a marital
dissolution and that formerly married parents who continue to be sexually active
serve as behavioral models for their maturing children, thus increasing the children's
levels of permissiveness. The absence of a parent due to divorce may also decrease
the quality of parent-child relationships and the overall level of parental influence
and control, which may increase the premarital sexuality of children. These
expectations are consistent with research showing that children with a stable family
experience have lower levels of premarital sexual intercourse and older age at first
intercourse (Hogan and Kitagawa, 1985; Mott, 1984; Zelnik, Kantner, and Ford,
1981). There is also some empirical evidence suggesting that frequency of dating by
single mothers is related to the sexual experience of their children (Moore, Peterson,
and Furstenberg, 1984). Inazu and Fox (1980) also reported that teenage girls whose
mothers have cohabited without marriage are more likely than others to have
engaged in sexual intercourse themselves.
The pattern of parental childbearing influences both parental interactions with
their children and sibling relationships. The number of children in a family may
determine how much time parents have available to monitor the behavior of their
children, with adolescents from large families having more opportunities to experience premarital sex. However, larger family size may reenforce traditional values
and beliefs. The total load of childrearing responsibilities may be greater for parents
of large families, leading them to emphasize discipline and the maintenance of strict
orientations. More siblings may also increase a child's responsibility in the family,
thereby requiring more traditional behavior, as hypothesized by Reiss and Miller
(1979).
Education and Work
Maternal employment outside the home may lead to more permissive attitudes and
increased sexual activity among children. Mothers have historically provided
supervision for children outside of school. Given the recent increase in women's
employment, absence of both parents from the home during the hours after school
may provide an opportunity for adolescents to have sexual encounters. This
opportunity factor is particularly important because recent research shows that the
initiation of sexual activity most frequently occurs in the home of one of the partners
(Zelnik and Kantner, 1980b).
Educational attainment of parents may be related to adolescent sexuality, although
the effect on attitudes and behavior may not be uniform. Education may reflect
exposure to liberalizing ideas that increase acceptance of premarital sexuality. At the
same time, however, highly educated parents have greater educational aspirations
for their children, and with widespread recognition of the difficulty of combining
educational achievements with early marriage and parenthood, highly educated
parents may discourage sexual activity among their children. This expectation is
consistent with the observation that young people with high educational aspirations

326

DEMOGRAPHY, volume 24, number 3, August 1987

report less sexual experience than others (Zelnik, Kantner, and Ford, 1981). Highly
educated parents may also be able to exercise greater control over their children's
activities because of greater skills and resources. The expectation of a differential
impact of parental education on attitudes and behavior may explain why empirical
studies have found only weak correlations between parental education and adolescent sexuality (DeLamater and MacCorquodale, 1979; Zelnik, Kantner, and Ford,
1981).
Our research considers the importance of both attitudes and behavior in understanding adolescent sexuality. In our model of adolescent sexuality, we posit that the
experiences and characteristics of mothers influence their own attitudes toward
premarital sexuality. These values of mothers, along with their behavior and the
environments provided in the familial home, in turn influence the attitudes and
behavior of children and the perceptions children have of the attitudes of their
mothers.
Several characteristics of our research plan facilitate the study of parental
influences. First, the data were obtained from both parents and children. This
permits the examination of intergenerational effects without having to rely on
children's reports of parental behavior and values, a common difficulty of much
research in this area (Furstenberg et al., 1984). Second, the data are from a study that
collected information from mothers across the entire lifetimes of the children. This
allows measurement of the marital, childbearing, and work experiences of parents
more precisely and fully than is possible with retrospective reports, providing both
a broader range of measures for the parental family and more accurate indicators.
Note, however, that because the parental information was obtained from mothers,
we have more information about them than about fathers. Moreover, because the
data about premarital sexual attitudes and behavior were only collected in 1980, it is
impossible to analyze change in these attitudes and behavior. Third, the analysis
uses a multiple indicator approach and appropriate estimation procedures to take
into account the measurement unreliability of some indicators. Finally, the study
examines a wide range of familial determinants of adolescent sexuality simultaneously, thereby reducing the risk of misspecification bias caused by omitted
variables.
DATA AND PROCEDURES

The data come from a probability sample of children selected from the birth
records of the Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan area in July 1961. Approximately
equal numbers offirst-, second-, and fourth-born white children were selected, using
stratified simple random-sampling procedures. Their mothers were first interviewed
early in 1962 with subsequent interviews conducted in 1962,1963, 1966, and 1977. In
1980, the mothers were again interviewed; in addition, the child born in 1961, then
18 years old, was interviewed. The 1980 interviews with mothers were conducted by
telephone, whereas most interviews with the children were conducted in person.
Data about the children's sexual attitudes and experience were obtained through a
self-administered questionnaire.
The response rate over the years has been high. In 1980, interviews were obtained
with both mother and child in 916 families, representing 85 percent of those
interviewed in 1962 in which both the mother and child were still alive. The 1980
families are very similar to the original 1962 group on such characteristics as
education, religion, parity, and income, indicating that sample attrition did not affect
the representativeness of the sample. Sons or daughters married by 1980 are not
included in the analysis, but represent only 3 percent of the sample.

Family Influence on Premarital Sexual Attitudes and Behavior

327

Measurement of Premarital Sexual Attitudes and Behavior


Attitudes about the appropriateness of sexual activity before marriage were
ascertained from both mothers and children in 1980. Respondents were asked to
indicate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with the following statements
(names of variables are given within parentheses):
Young people should not have sex before marriage (before marriage).
Premarital sex is alright for a young couple planning to get married (planning
marriage).
Response categories were "strongly agree," "agree," "disagree," or "strongly
disagree." For analysis both items were ordered on a 5-point scale with' 'uncertain"
or "depends" responses coded at the midpoint. All variables were coded so that high
values reflect approval of premarital sex and low values indicate disapproval.
To evaluate their perception of parents' attitudes, sons and daughters were asked
the following questions:
How does your mother feel about young people having sex before marriage
(perceptions of mother)?
How does your father feel about young people having sex before marriage
(perceptions of father)?
Possible responses were: "She/He disapproves strongly," "She/He disapproves
somewhat," or "She/He doesn't disapprove." These were ordered on a 3-point
scale, with a high score indicating perceptions of acceptance.
The adolescents were asked if they had ever had sexual intercourse (ever had
intercourse). Those who answered "yes" were asked the following questions:
How many different partners have you ever had intercourse with (number of
partners)?
How old were you when you had sexual intercourse the first time (age at first
intercourse) ?
How many times have you had intercourse in the last four weeks (recent
frequency)?
ATTITUDINAL AND BEHAVIORAL DIFFERENCES ACROSS GENDER AND GENERATION

The distribution of responses on the attitude and behavior measures of sexuality


are shown in table 1. The attitude items are dichotomized to simplify presentation.
These data document an important intergenerational difference between mothers and
children. More than three-fourths of the sons and about two-thirds of the daughters
expressed approval of premarital sex, whereas only about one-third of the mothers
did so.
Sons and daughters view their parents as disapproving of premarital sex for young
adults. Only a small minority thought that their parents approved of premarital sex,
whereas nearly one-half believed they disapproved strongly. An exact comparison of
the self-expressed attitudes of mothers with their attitudes as perceived by their sons
and daughters is impossible because of wording and response mode differences.
The children were also asked about the attitudes of their close male and female
friends. Seventy-two percent reported that their close male friends do not disapprove
of premarital sex at all, whereas 44 percent said their close female friends do not
disapprove (table 1). The perceptions of attitudes among peers are very different
from perceptions of parental attitudes, providing further evidence of an important
intergenerational difference.

328

DEMOGRAPHY, volume 24, number 3, August 1987


Table 1.-Percent Distribution of Premarital Sexual Attitudes for Mothers and Children and of
Premarital Sexual Behavior for Children
Respondenta
Variable

Before marriage
Disapproval
Approval
Planning marriage
Disapproval
Approval
Perceptions of mother's attitudes
Disapproves strongly
Disapproves somewhat
Does not disapprove
Perceptions of father's attitudes
Disapproves strongly
Disapproves somewhat
Does not disapprove
Perceptions of male friends
Disapproves strongly
Disapproves somewhat
Does not disapprove
Perceptions of female friends
Disapproves strongly
Disapproves somewhat
Does not disapprove
Ever had intercourse
Yes
NOb
Number of partners
Never had intercourse"
Had 1 partner
Had 2-5 partners
Had 6 or more partners
Recent frequency
Never had intercourse"
Had intercourse
times
1-2 times
3-7 times
8 or more times

Mothers

Sons

Daughters

Sons and
daughters

68.4
31.6

22.8
77.2

35.4
64.6

28.9
71.1

63.5
36.5

22.4
77.6

33.2
66.8

27.6
72.4

N.A.
N.A.
N.A.

40.0
45.5
14.5

50.4
41.2
8.4

45.0
43.5
11.6

N.A.
N.A.
N.A.

29.6
45.3
25.1

56.0
36.3
7.7

42.1
41.1
16.8

N.A.
N.A.
N.A.

3.9
18.7

77.4

4.7
28.3
67.0

4.3
23.3
72.4

N.A.
N.A.
N.A.

5.7
58.1
36.2

8.2
40.5
51.3

6.9
49.6
43.5

N.A.
N.A.

63.5
36.5

54.5
45.5

59.1
.40.9

N.A.
N.A.
N.A.
N.A.

36.8
19.5
27.1
16.6

46.3
22.7
25.0
6.0

41.4
21.1
26.0
11.5

N.A.

36.6

46.3

41.3

N.A.
N.A.
N.A.
N.A.

25.2
16.7
14.7
6.8

19.0
11.1
14.4
9.2

22.2
14.0
14.6
7.9

Note: Withineach variable,percentages addto 100in columns.Although the numberof respondentsin the sampleis 888,
the numberavailablefor analysesof individual variablesmay be smallerbecauseof missingdata, withthe minimumnumber
being 858. N,A, indicates "not applicable."
All of the differencesbetween mothersand sons and betweenmothersand daughters are statisticallysignificant. All
of the differencesbetween sons and daughtersare statisticallysignificantat the 0,01 level, with the exceptionof Recent
frequency.
b The best estimate of the percentage never having intercourse is provided by the variable Ever had intercourse. The
percentagewho never had intercourse is higherfor the Number of partnersand Recent frequency variablesbecause of
the exclusion of respondents who did not report number of partners or frequency.

Family Influence on Premarital Sexual Attitudes and Behavior

329

There is also a gender difference in attitudes about premarital sexuality. Although


both sons and daughters report general acceptance, males are more approving than
females. The difference is slightly more than 10percentage points for both attitudinal
questions (table 1). Sons and daughters also differ in their perceptions of parents'
attitudes. Whereas 40 percent of sons perceive their mothers to disapprove strongly
of premarital sex, 50 percent of daughters believe this. The gender differences in
perceptions of paternal attitudes are even greater; 30 percent of sons as compared
with 56 percent of daughters believe that their fathers strongly disapprove. These
differences may, in part, reflect the continuation of a double standard among parents,
with parents portraying a more disapproving attitude toward daughters than sons.
Perceptions of parental attitudes may also be influenced by the children's own
behavior and attitudes. Daughters have less approving attitudes and, as we shall see
shortly, less sexual experience, which could cause them to see others as less
approving.
The bottom half of table 1 shows the level of involvement in sexual activity.
Nearly 60 percent of these unmarried adolescents had experienced sexual intercourse by the time of the interview, which was conducted when they were about
two-thirds through their 19th year. Moreover, nearly 4 out of 10 had experienced
intercourse with more than one partner, and over 60 percent of those with experience
had been sexually active with more than one partner. In addition, over one-third of
these 18-year-old adolescents reported sexual intercourse within the four weeks
preceding the interview.
The reported level of sexual activity is higher for sons than for daughters; 64
percent as compared with 54 percent had experienced intercourse by the interview.
These distributions are very similar to those reported by Zelnik and Kantner (1980a)
in their 1979 national survey of persons living in metropolitan areas. Their results
show that 53 percent of 18-year-old white unmarried women and 64 percent of
18-year-old white unmarried men had experienced intercourse, providing evidence
of the similarity of young people born in Detroit to those in the nation as a whole.
Sons are also more likely to report multiple partners than are daughters. Among
sons, 44 percent reported having intercourse with two or more partners, whereas
only 31 percent of the daughters had done so. Current activity, however, is quite
similar, with 35 percent of daughters reporting that they engaged in sexual intercourse in the previous four weeks, versus 38 percent of sons.
DETERMINANTS OF ADOLESCENT SEXUALITY

The Causal Model


Our analysis of the determinants of adolescent sexuality focuses on six dependent
variables: mother's attitudes toward premarital sex; child's attitudes toward premarital sex; child's perception of mother's attitudes; whether the child had experienced
intercourse; the number of partners the child had had; and the frequency of
intercourse in the four weeks preceding the interview. 2 Several characteristics of the
mother, including her religion, church attendance, education, age, age at marriage,
and employment pattern, are considered. Also included are the number of children
born, pregnancy status at marriage, marital history, and husband's education. These
familial characteristics are assumed to be exogenous relative to premarital sex
attitudes, behavior, and perceptions because, for the most part, they reflect behavior
and life style developed over a substantial period of time prior to the 1980
observation of the premarital sexuality variables. All of these variables are assumed

DEMOGRAPHY, volume 24, number 3, August 1987

330

Table 2.-Definition of Variables Used in Multivariate Analysis


Variable
Mother's attitudes
Son/daughter attitudes
Perception of mother
Ever had intercourse
Number of partners
Recent frequency
Religion fundamentalist
Religion Catholic
Church attendance
Mother's education
Father's education
Parity
Premarital pregnancy status
Age
Divorced/remarried
Divorced/not remarried
Age at marriage
Some work
Full-time work

Definition
1980 latent construct indicated by "before marriage" and "planning
marriage"
1980 latent construct indicated by "before marriage" and "planning
marriage"
See text
See text
See text
See text
Mother fundamentalist Protestant or Baptist in 1980 (= 1)
Mother Catholic in 1980 (= 1)
Frequency of mother's 1980 church attendance
Number of years of education in 1980
Number of years of education of father most recently in household
Number of children born by 1980
Mother premaritally pregnant (= 1)
Mother's age in 1980, in years
Mother experienced a marital separation 1962-1980 and
subsequently remarried (= 1)
Mother experienced a marital separation 1962-1980 and did not
subsequently remarry (= 1)
.
Mother's age at first marriage, in years
Mother worked part time in 1977 and/or 1980, or mother worked full
time in 1977 or 1980, but not both years (= 1)
Mother worked full time in both 1977 and 1980 (= 1)

to influence the attitudes of mothers and children and the children's behavior and
perceptions of maternal attitudes. All variables are defined in table 2.
We also posit that the attitudes of mothers influence the perceptions, behavior,
and attitudes of their children. We have assumed that parents influence children,
with no reciprocal influence of children on parents, because we believe that the
preponderant effect is from parents to children, but we recognize the possibility that
children may influence parents. Our data are insufficient for estimating reciprocal
effects, however, so we are unable to examine this hypothesis.
We have chosen to leave the causal structure among the adolescents' perceptions
of parents, behavior, and attitudes unspecified. We accept the view of many previous
researchers investigating adolescent sexuality that perceptions of parental attitudes
influence both the attitudes and behavior of children. In fact, parental attitudes may
influence children primarily as those attitudes are perceived and acknowledged by
the children (Acock and Bengtson, 1980). Actual parental attitudes and perceptions
of those attitudes, however, are only modestly correlated across a range of
attitudinal domains (Davies and Kandel, 1981). Our data indicate that the correlations between children's perception of mothers' attitudes and the two variables
measuring maternal attitudes are both only 0.40, whereas the correlation between the
two measures of maternal attitudes is 0.70. 3 This substantial discrepancy raises
serious questions about the sources of the misperception of parental attitudes. We
believe that children perceive parental attitudes through the window of their own

Family Influence on Premarital Sexual Attitudes and Behavior

331

attitudes and behavior and that misperceptions are influenced by the attitudes and
behavior of the perceiver. For example, children with more permissive attitudes and
behavior may misperceive their parents as less strict to justify their own behavior
and views. These considerations strongly indicate the importance of considering
reciprocal causation between adolescent perceptions of maternal attitudes and the
behavior and attitudes of the children.
We accept the view that standards of sexual conduct directly influence actual
behavior, but we believe that attitudes are also influenced by behavior. Adolescents
with negative attitudes toward premarital sex who are sexually active probably tend
to adjust their attitudes to reflect their behavior. Reciprocal causation between
premarital sexual attitudes and behavior was demonstrated by Wintermute (1982),
using panel data. A model that does not allow reciprocal effects would be a serious
misrepresentation of the causal process. Unfortunately, the data available do not
permit estimation of the posited reciprocal effects among adolescent perceptions,
attitudes, and behavior. Consequently, we have made no effort to estimate the causal
relationships among these variables but have allowed the correlations among the
dependent variables to be taken into account. 4
The equations estimated for premarital sex attitudes, behavior, and perceptions
are represented in table 3. The coefficients are standardized regression coefficients
and were estimated by using the maximum likelihood procedures developed by
Joreskog and Sorbom (1979). These coefficients should be interpreted in the same
way as standardized regression coefficients estimated from ordinary least squares
regression. The primary difference is that our coefficients were estimated using
maximum-likelihood rather than least squares procedures and use more sophisticated measurement assumptions."
The first set of coefficients reflect the total influence of the exogenous parental
characteristics-both direct effects and indirect influence via maternal attitudesand the second set indicates the direct effects of all parental attitudes. Together, the
two sets elaborate the effects of the exogenous variables through the system (Alwin
and Hauser, 1975; Duncan, 1975).
Explicit recognition was given to the possibility that the processes represented by
the model could be contingent on the gender of the child. Therefore, the sample was
divided into two groups-families with an 18-year-old son and those with an
18-year-old daughter. Explicit tests were conducted to determine whether the
coefficients measuring the influence of family characteristics and attitudes on the
children were the same for sons and daughters.
Because we had no explicit hypotheses about differences between the parameters
for men and women for specijic,variables, we conducted all of the tests of parameter
equality simultaneously. That is, each model was estimated twice, once constraining
all of the parameters to be equal for men and women and once allowing genderspecific estimation. The formal tests of the differences of the parameters between
sons and daughters, using a goodness-of-fit comparison of the two models, showed
that the null hypotheses of no overall differences between the equations for males
and females could not be rejected at conventional levels of significance. The
differences between equations, however, were nearly statistically significant, and a
few of the individual coefficient differences are large and would probably be
statistically significant if tested individually. 6 Therefore, we report parameter
estimates both from the model with male and female parameters constrained to be
equal as well as separate estimates for the two groups. Our discussion emphasizes
the coefficients constrained to be equal across groups but also notes those individual
coefficients in which gender differences are sizable and consistent.

Religion
Fundamentalist
Catholic
Church attendance
Mother's education
Father's education
Parity

R2

Religion
Fundamentalist
Catholic
Church attendance
Mother's education
Father's education
Parity
Premarital pregnancy
Age
Divorced/remarried
Divorced/not remarried
Age at marriage
Some work
Full-time work
Mother's attitudes

Predictor

-0.09*
0.04
-0.37**
0.19**
0.03
-0.09**

0.29

-0.08*
0.04
-0.37**
0.19**
0.03
-0.09**
0.09**
-0.03
0.14**
0.08*
-0.10*
-0.06
-0.01

Mother's
attitudes,
T

-0.24**
0.04
-0.20**
0.15**
-0.05
-0.09*

0.13

-0.19**
0.05
-0.19**
0.04
0.03
-0.09*
0.07
0.12**
0.12**
0.03
-0.10*
0.01
0.01

T
T

Perceptions
of mother
T

Ever had
intercourse

-0.24**
0.03
-0.11 *
0.11
-0.06
0.07

0.17

-0.17**
0.05
-0.10*
-0.01
0.03
-0.07
0.05
0.13**
0.08*
0.01
-0.07
0.02
0.01
0.25**
0.45

-0.07
-0.10*
-0.20**
0.01
-0.01
-0.02
0.02
0.06
0.12**
-0.01
-0.16**
-0.07
-0.01
0.44**
0.08

-0.10**
-0.03
-0.06
-0.06
-0.04
0.00
0.10**
0.06
0.08*
0.06
-0.14**
-0.02
0.04

-0.15*
-0.02
-0.38**
0.10
-0.02
-0.13*

-0.13*
-0.04
-0.23**
0.02
-0.03
-0.09

-0.12*
-0.08
-0.14**
-0.02
-0.11 *
0.02

Separate Son Coefficients

0.31

-0.11 **
-0.08
-0.36**
0.09*
0.01
-0.06
0.06
0.05
0.19**
0.02
-0.20**
-0.09*
-0.01

-0.12*
-0.08
-0.13*
0.02
-0.11*
0.02

0.09

-0.09*
-0.04
-0.03
-0.08*
-0.05
0.01
0.09**
0.06
0.07*
0.05
-0.13**
-0.01
0.04
0.10*

Son and Daughter Coefficients Constrained to Be Equal

Son/daughter
attitudes

-0.08
-0.11
-0.11
0.00
-0.11
0.02

0.10

-0.05
-0.06
-0.08**
-0.02
-0.04
-0.01
0.08*
0.08*
0.15**
0.09**
-0.14**
0.02
0.06

-0.08
-0.12*
-0.07
-0.01
-0.11
0.03

0.11

-0.04
-0.07
-0.04
-0.04
-0.04
0.00
0.07*
0.09*
0.14**
0.08*
-0.13**
0.03
0.06
0.11**

No. of
partners

Table 3.-Standardized Coefficients for a Structural Equation Model of Premarital Sexual Attitudes and Behavior

0.03
-0.05
-0.05
0.05
-0.09
0.03

0.04

0.00
0.01
-0.06
-0.00
-0.02
0.02
0.07*
0.07
0.11**
0.06
-0.07
0.03
0.06

0.04
-0.05
-0.02
0.03
-0.09
0.04

0.05

0.01
0.01
-0.02
-0.02
-0.02
0.03
0.06
0.07
0.10**
0.05
-0.06
0.04
0.06
0.11*

Recent frequency

Co)
Co)

-0
ClO
'I

112

-....

c:
c:

,Co)

CI)

...

IT

c:

::I

N
,l:>

<
0
C
3CI)

.:<

:J:

"'1:1

G)

0.30

-0.09*
0.04
-0.37**
0.19**
0.03
-0.09**
0.09**
-0.03
0.14**
0.08*
-0.10*
-0.06
-0.Q1

0.28

0.09**
-0.03
0.14**
0.08*
-0.10*
-0.06
-0.01

0.14

-0.13*
0.07
-0.22**
-0.11
0.17*
-0.06
0.15**
0.14
0.14*
0.02
0.01
0.09
0.09

0.17

0.Q1
0.09
0.10*
0.00
-0.17**
-0.07
-0.07

0.18

-0.10
0.06
-0.13*
-0.16*
0.16*
0.04
0.12*
0.14
0.10
0.00
0.04
0.10
0.09
0.27**

0.21

-0.Q1
0.10
0.07
-0.02
-0.15**
-0.05
-0.06
0.22**
0.45

0.00
0.13*
0.15**
-0.01
-0.20**
-0.09
-0.01
0.40**
0.08

0.03
0.00
0.06
0.03
-0.10
-0.03
0.01

0.32

-0.08
-0.14*
-0.37**
0.07
0.04
0.04
0.08
-0.04
0.16**
0.02
-0.12
-0.06
0.00
0.49

-0.02
-0.15**
-0.20**
-0.Q1
0.02
0.07
0.03
-0.04
0.10
-0.01
-0.07
-0.04
-0.00
0.48**
0.11

-0.09
0.02
-0.01
-0.15**
0.02
-0.02
0.17**
0.15*
0.13**
0.08
-0.19**
0.00
0.07

Separate Daughter Coefficients

0.34

0.03
0.11
0.21**
0.02
-0.24**
-0.13
-0.03

0.13

-0.07
0.01
0.06
-0.18**
0.02
-0.01
0.15**
0.15*
0.10*
0.06
-0.17**
0.00
0.07
0.18**

0.08

0.03
0.00
0.06
0.03
-0.10
-0.03
0.01
0.01

0.14

-0.03
-0.03
-0.08
-0.05
0.02
-0.02
0.10*
0.12*
0.17**
0.11*
-0.16**
0.04
0.07

0.08

0.07
0.04
0.13*
0.04
-0.08
0.01
0.06

0.15

-0.01
-0.04
-0.03
-0.07
0.01
-0:02
0.08*
0.12*
0.16**
0.10*
-0.15**
0.05
0.07
0.13**

0.09

0.06
0.04
0.12*
0.04
-0.08
0.02
0.06
0.09

0.08

-0.03
0.08
-0.05
-0.08
0.07
-0.02
0.14**
0.22**
0.15**
0.05
-0.18**
0.06
0.11

0.04

0.01
-0.02
0.10*
0.05
0.00
0.01
0.03

0.09

-0.01
0.08
-0.01
-0.10
0.06
-0.02
0.12*
0.22**
0.14**
0.04
-0.16*
0.06
0.11
0.12

0.04

0.00
-0.02
0.09
0.04
0.01
0.02
0.03
0.08*

Note: All variables refer to the mother except for Son/daughter altitudes, Perceptions of mother, Ever had sex, Number of partners, Recent frequency, and Father's education. This
table summarizes the results of three separate analyses, each containing a different measure of sexual behavior: Ever had intercourse, Number of partners, and Recent frequency. The
coefficients for the behavioral equations thus come from different estimations of the structural equations. The coefficients for Mother's attitudes, Son-daughter attitudes, and Perceptions
of mother come from the analysis with Recent frequency as the behavioral variable, but the estimated coefficients were very similar for all three analyses. All variables are scaled so that
a high score reflects approval of premarital sex whereas a low score reflects disapproval. T = total effects of explanatory variables (exclUding Mother's altitudes); coefficients were
estimated from equaitons containing only these variables. 0 = direct effects of each explanatory variable in the equation, lncludlnq Mother's attitudes.
* p < 0.05.
** p < 0.01.

R2

Religion
Fundamentalist
Catholic
Church attendance
Mother's education
Father's education
Parity
Premarital pregnancy
Age
Divorced/remarried
Divorced/not remarried
Age at'marriage
Some work
Full-time work
Mother's attitudes

R2

Premarital pregnancy
Age
Divorced/remarried
Divorced/not remarried
Age at marriage
Some work
Full-time work
Mother's attitudes

w
w
w

is'
...

<

:r

all
III

A.

::I

VI

III

A.

:r.
C

e-

)C

III

CI'

:.:

...0
a

...III

::I

III

III
::I

:i"
C

-<

~.

on

334

DEMOGRAPHY, volume 24, number 3, August 1987

Model Results
Maternal attitudes. Adolescent perceptions and attitudes are significantly influenced by maternal attitudes-with the two standardized regression coefficients being
0.44 and 0.25, respectively." The coefficient (0.44) for the effect of maternal attitudes
on perceptions thereof is substantial and indicates an important communication of
values, but it is also small enough to document substantial misperception. Although
the effect of maternal attitudes on those of their children is modest (0.25), there is still
a tendency for children to internalize the attitudes of their parents. The influence of
maternal attitudes on the three behavioral variables is weaker, with standardized
regression coefficients between 0.10 and 0.11.
For all dependent variables, the standardized regression coefficients summarizing
the effect of maternal attitudes are greater for females than males. This suggests that
mothers may have more influence on their daughters, although further research is
needed to validate this finding. 8
Religion. On average, fundamentalist Protestant mothers have more traditional
attitudes regarding premarital intercourse than others, and their children perceive
them as less approving." Fundamentalist religion also has more influence on the
children's attitudes than on the mothers', reflecting the relevance of religious
affiliation for the development of children's attitudes today. Although some of the
effects of the mothers' fundamentalist religion on adolescent attitudes and perceptions operate through their own attitudes, most of the influence is direct and
independent of actual maternal attitudes. Even though fundamentalist affiliation
influences whether the adolescent ever had intercourse, it has little effect on number
of partners and recent frequency.
Catholicism tends to result in more approving attitudes, although the effects are
very small and not statistically significant. The effect of Catholicism on adolescent
perceptions of the mothers' attitudes, however, is negative. Apparently Catholicism
influences children to perceive their mothers as more restrictive than they really are.
There is, however, no statistically significant effect of Catholic affiliation on the
behavior of children.
Church attendance is one of the strongest predictors of attitudes and perceptions.
Its total effects on maternal attitudes, adolescent perceptions of mothers' attitudes,
and adolescent attitudes are -0.37, -0.36, and -0.19, respectively. Furthermore,
although the attitudes of mothers are a mechanism in the transmission of the
influence of church attendance to the attitudes and perceptions of young adults, the
effects of maternal church attendance remain, even with maternal attitudes controlled. The frequency of maternal church attendance, however, has less influence
on the behavior of adolescents. The total effects, as measured by standardized
regression coefficients, range from -0.06 to -0.08.
We had expected that the effects of church attendance would be greater for
Catholics and fundamentalist Protestants than for nonfundamentalist Protestants
because these groups historically have been less accepting of premarital sex. To
evaluate this hypothesis, we estimated ordinary regression equations for the
dependent variables, which included interaction terms between attendance and
affiliation. Although the effects of church attendance tend to be greatest for
fundamentalist Protestants and smallest for nonfundarnentalists, the interaction
terms are modest and statistically insignificant.
Marital history. Mothers who experienced a premarital pregnancy express more
nontraditional attitudes about premarital sex, despite the fact that the pregnancy in

Family Influence on Premarital Sexual Attitudes and Behavior

335

question, by virtue of the study design, occurred at least 18 years prior to the 1980
interview. The effect is net of other factors usually associated with premarital
pregnancy, including young age at marriage, low educational attainment, and high
incidence of divorce. A premarital pregnancy also affects the attitudes, perceptions,
and behavior of the children: children whose mothers were pregnant at marriage are
more approving of premarital sex, perceive their parents as more approving, and are
more sexually active. This effect, however, may be greater for daughters than for
sons, as the observed coefficients for females are higher.
The effect of a maternal premarital pregnancy on children's sexual behavior
persists even when maternal attitudes are controlled. Although the attitudes of other
family members, including fathers and siblings, might explain some of this effect,
other mechanisms, including both social and biological ones may also be operative
(Newcomer and Udry, 1984; also see note 1).
Another example of the relevance of early life experiences on subsequent attitudes
and behavior is age at marriage. Mothers who married young have more approving
attitudes toward premarital sex now; and their children are more approving, perceive
their mothers as more approving, and are more sexually active. These effects of
maternal age at marriage are independent of any possible age effects, as the age of
mother is included in the equations and the ages of sons and daughters are constant.
As with premarital pregnancy, this effect may be greater for daughters than sons.
The effects of divorce and remarriage are in the expected direction: divorce, with
and without remarriage, results in mothers' having less restrictive attitudes toward
premarital sex. Divorced mothers who have remarried have even more accepting
attitudes. Apparently, mothers who become single again have to confront the issues
of sexuality outside of marriage personally and, on average, become less restrictive
than those who remain continuously married. Presumably all divorced women who
remarry have to face these issues, whereas many of those who do not remarry are
less involved in dating and social activities with men and have less need to reconsider
their positions.
Parental divorce and remarriage also influence the attitudes, behavior, and
perceptions of young adults. Children whose mothers were remarried subsequent to
divorce had more accepting attitudes, perceived their mothers as more accepting,
and were also more sexually active. Note that although some of the effects of divorce
and remarriage on children are through maternal attitudes, there are effects that are
net of maternal attitudes. Apparently, marital dissolution and reentry into the
courtship process have effects on children somewhat independent of the evolving
attitudes of parents themselves. Note that these effects may be greater for daughters
than for sons.

Family size. Women with large families had more restrictive attitudes toward
premarital sex. Their children were also more restrictive and perceived their mothers
as less permissive. Children raised in large families, however, are not less sexually
active than others, which may reflect the increased difficulty of supervising children
experienced by parents of large families.
Maternal employment. The expected effect of maternal employment is not
found. Only one coefficient reached statistical significance, but it is not in the
predicted direction. The remaining coefficients are near zero, and some are negative
while others are positive. Clearly there is no distinct effect of maternal employment
on either premarital sexual attitudes or behavior, given the operationalization used

336

DEMOGRAPHY, volume 24, number 3, August 1987

in the present research. Preliminary analysis using an indicator of total lifetime


employment also showed no effect (results not shown).
The measures of maternal employment used here are unrefined and do not indicate
patterns or scheduling of employment. The lack of an effect may reflect inadequate
measurement rather than a true lack of relationship. To measure other aspects
related to adolescent sexuality, it would be necessary to collect detailed information
concerning job schedules, amount of time the adolescent spends unsupervised owing
to maternal employment, and information on how maternal employment may
increase opportunities to engage in sexual behavior. Such an analysis is beyond the
scope of the present study.
Education. As expected, mother's educational attainment is related in opposite
directions to attitudes and behavior. Highly educated mothers have more accepting
attitudes and are perceived as more accepting by their children. At the same time,
the children of highly educated mothers report somewhat less sexual experience.
Paternal education has no influence on maternal or adolescent attitudes or perceptions. Also note that the coefficients tend to differ for sons and daughters, although
generalizations of the nature of those differences are difficult to make.
Age. Finally, the age of the mother is positively and significantly related to the
children's attitudes and behavior but not to the attitudes of mothers. This may
indicate that older parents are able to exert less control over their children's
behavior. This effect may be greater for daughters than for sons.
Annual Age-Specific Probabilities of Initiating Sexual Activity
Another analysis examined the influence of family characteristics and maternal
attitudes on annual age-specific probabilities of initiating sexual activity conditional
on there being no previous sexual intercourse. In this investigation we treated the
individual annual transition, rather than the individual person, as the unit of analysis.
Explicit recognition was given to the possibility that the processes could be
contingent on the age at each specific transition. Therefore, the set of age-specific
transition experiences was divided into four groups: those occurring at 15 or earlier
and those at ages 16, 17, and 18.
Explicit tests were conducted to see whether the influence of maternal and
paternal characteristics on the initiation of sexual activity was the same for each age.
The formal tests of the differences among the four ages showed that the null
hypothesis could not be rejected at conventional levels of significance. Further, the
differences in observed estimates in annual probabilities across the ages in question
formed no readily interpretable patterns. This leads to the substantive conclusion
that familial influences on children's behavior are fairly consistent across the teenage
years. In addition, the pattern of coefficients from a model that constrains the effects
to be equal across age is similar to the pattern reported in table 3 for ever had
intercourse. For this reason, detailed results are not presented here.
SUMMARY

This research has expanded our understanding of the determinants of adolescent


sexuality in several directions. We have used a study of mothers and children to
construct and estimate a model of the intergenerational transmission of sexual
attitudes and behavior. With data collected from both mothers and children, we were
able to proceed further than most past research and to consider both the attitudes
and behaviors of mothers as reported by the mothers themselves. These data

Family Influence on Premarital Sexual Attitudes and Behavior

337

permitted an investigation of the determinants of maternal attitudes concerning


adolescent sexuality as well as an examination of the influences of the attitudes and
experiences of mothers on the attitudes, perceptions, and behavior of children.
Obviously, limiting the study to white families prevents generalization of our findings
to other subgroups of the population.
The findings demonstrate the importance and relevance of parental and adolescent
attitudes in understanding adolescent sexuality. Premarital sexuality is a salient issue
to both young people and their parents. There are, however, very important and
substantial differences in the attitudes of parents and children. On average, the
attitudes of young people today are much less restrictive than those of their parents,
reflecting either life cycle differences or the impact of social change. The
intergenerational difference is recognized by young people themselves and probably
affects the ability of parents to assist their maturing children in adjusting to and
dealing with their sexuality-a difficulty likely to be reflected in the relative lack of
success sexually active young people have in preventing pregnancy.
Our findings also add to the research literature in demonstrating that although
children, on average, have more permissive attitudes than their parents, the attitudes
of individual parents tend to be reflected in the attitudes of individual children.
Children whose mothers have less restrictive attitudes have, on average, less
restrictive attitudes themselves. Further, the attitudes of mothers are also reflected
in the behavior of their children, so on average, mothers with more permissive
attitudes have children who are more sexually active. The influence of maternal
attitudes, however, is stronger for children's attitudes than for their behavior. Of
course, variability in children's attitudes and behavior-and even their perceptions
of maternal attitudes-can only be partially explained by the attitudes of their
mothers; but presumably, if the attitudes of other important family members,
including fathers and siblings, were known, the prediction of adolescent attitudes
would improve.
Our research provides documentation of the determinants of the attitudes of
mothers toward premarital sex. Their attitudes are interwoven with and reflect many
of their individual characteristics and family experiences, and these provide a
reasonable prediction of maternal attitudes (R 2 = 0.29). The childbearing and marital
experiences of mothers are related to attitudes in consistent ways. Age at marriage
and premarital pregnancy influence current attitudes, even though the marriages
occurred years before current attitudes were measured, reflecting persistence of
family orientations across long periods. Later marital experiences (divorce and
remarriage in particular) and the adjustments necessitated by them, however, bring
important modifications to attitudes. Maternal attitudes are strongly influenced by
both church attendance and education, with greater attendance and lower educational attainments associated with more restrictive attitudes.
The experiences and behavior of mothers also influence the behavior, attitudes,
and perceptions of children. Our findings are consistent with past research in
showing the importance of marital dissolution on adolescent attitudes and behavior,
but they go beyond previous work in showing the importance of remarriage to
attitudes and behavior. Young people whose mothers remarry have more permissive
attitudes and more sexual experience than those whose mothers have divorced but
not remarried. This finding is interpreted as reflecting the involvement of remarried
mothers in the courtship process leading up to the remarriage. The importance of
maternal courtship patterns is also demonstrated by the greater sexual experience of
young people whose mothers were premaritally pregnant and whose mothers
married at a young age.

338

DEMOGRAPHY, volume 24, number 3, August 1987

The impact of marital and childbearing experience on the behavior and attitudes of
individual children suggests that the simultaneous increases in premarital sexuality
and divorce and remarriage during the 1960s and 1970s may not have been
independent. Increases in divorce and remarriage may be partially responsible for
some of the increased premarital sexuality during the period.
Sexual attitudes and behavior of young adults are also influenced by the religious
affiliation and church attendance of mothers. Mothers who are fundamentalist
Protestants and who attend church more frequently have children who have more
restrictive attitudes and less sexual experience. This finding is consistent with our
theoretical expectations about the continuing role of religious determinants of the
behavior of young people.
As hypothesized, education influences attitudes and behavior differently. While
the education of mothers is associated with more permissive attitudes, it has a small
negative influence on the sexual experience of children. This suggests the need for
future research to consider both of these effects simultaneously. There is no
discernible effect of the employment of the mothers on themselves or their children.
The results suggest that the parental family may influence adolescent attitudes
more than behavior. Some variables that influence attitudes substantially have only
modest influence on behavior. In addition, behavioral indicators summarizing
lifetime behavior (ever had intercourse and number of partners) appear to be more
predictable than those summarizing short recent time periods (recent frequency).
Presumably, this reflects the many idiosyncratic and changing circumstances of
adolescent life during any part of the life course.
NOTES
The biological mechanism posited by Newcomer and Udry (1984) has two components: the
inheritance of the tempo of physiological maturation and the influence of maturation on sexual behavior.
They suggest that mothers who matured early have daughters who also mature early and that early
physiological development influences early sexual behavior.
2 Through the use of multiple indicators of premarital sex attitudes and the maximum-likelihood
statistical procedures described by Joreskog and Sorborn (1979), it was possible to take into account
unreliability of measurement of the attitudinal variables. For both the mother and the child, two attitudinal
indicators-before marriage and planning marriage-were used as indicators of premarital sex attitudes,
This was done by positing that each indicator reflects both an underlying, or latent, premarital sex attitude
variable and measurement unreliability. The correlations of the observed attitudinal indicators with their
underlying factors were estimated to range from 0.82 to 0.88, indicating high measurement reliability for
attitudinal variables. Since we had only one indicator ofthe attitudes of the mothers as perceived by their
children, we assumed that the proportion of the variance in observed perceptions due to measurement
unreliability was equal to the proportion of the variance of observed adolescent attitudes produced by
measurement error; the variance in perceptions due to measurement unreliability was set equal to this
proportion times the observed variance in perceptions. All other variables in the analysis were assumed
to be perfectly measured, with the error of measurement set to zero. More details concerning the
measurement assumptions used in the analysis may be obtained from the authors.
3 Research investigating the correlation between actual and perceived sexual experience of peers also
shows a substantial discrepancy (John O.G. Billy, personal communications).
4 In the model we estimated the equations for children's attitudes, perceptions of mother's attitudes,
and behavior simultaneously. To take into account the correlations among these variables not due to the
predictor variables, we allowed the errors of prediction of the dependent variables to be correlated.
S As a check on the robustness of our estimates using maximum-likelihood procedures, we also
estimated the equations oftable 3 using ordinary least squares procedures. The conclusions that would be
drawn from the two approaches would be the same, since the two sets of coefficients are remarkably
similar. The only differences of note are for the equations predicting mothers' attitudes, son/daughter
attitudes, and perceptions of mother: the R 2 values in all three equations and the estimated effects of
mothers' attitudes on son/daughter attitudes and perceptions of mother are all smaller using ordinary least
squares regression. This undoubtedly reflects the fact that the maximum-likelihood procedure took into
account measurement reliability for these three variables, whereas the ordinary least squares approach
did not.
I

339

Family Influence on Premarital Sexual Attitudes and Behavior


2

6 These tests were made using conventional likelihood-ratio statistics (L ) and involved comparing
models that included the equality constraints across gender groups with models that did not. The
likelihood-ratio statistics for the final models with the equality constraints across groups ranged from 108
to 128, each with 126 degrees of freedom, indicating close fits to the observed data. The likelihood-ratio
statistics for the final models without equality constraints across groups ranged from 66 to 74, each with
84 degrees of freedom. The difference statistics ranged from 42 to 56, each with 42 degrees of freedom.
The probability levels of these difference statistics ranged from 0.07 to 0.46. Although table 3 reports
standardized coefficients, the tests of equivalence of the male and female samples were made using the
coefficients in their unstandardized form. A range of chi-squared values is reported because the model was
estimated three times, each time with a different indicator of premarital sexual behavior-ever had
intercourse, number of partners, and recent frequency. More details concerning estimation procedures
can be obtained from the authors.
7 The standardized beta coefficients were estimated by multiplying the unstandardized coefficient by the
ratio of the standard deviation of the independent variable to the standard deviation of the dependent
variable. The standard deviations used were based on the variances pooled across the two groups (see
Joreskog and Sorbom, 1978). Since there are potentially differing R2 values for the male and female
samples, owing to different "explained" and "unexplained" variances across these groups, the R 2 values
presented in the top portion of table 3 were calculated by averaging the R 2 for the two groups. Note that
the R 2 values for the separate male and female models are very similar to those for the total sample.
S Although the table only reports standardized coefficients, the differences beween males and females
also persist when unstandardized coefficients are compared.
9 Although we have, for convenience, labeled this group fundamentalist Protestant, it comprises mainly
Baptists with the remainder being Pentacostal, Nazarene, Southern Baptist, and similar religious groups.
The group, therefore, is composed of members of more conservative religious organizations.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This is a revised version of a paper presented at the 1983 Annual Meeting of the
American Sociological Association. The research was supported by grants from the
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD-12798) and the
Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs (APR-0009lO). We wish to acknowledge
Ronald Freedman, Lolagene Coombs, and David Goldberg for their contributions in
conducting the initial waves of this panel study. Arland Thornton and Deborah
Freedman collected the subsequent waves of data. Duane Alwin provided valuable
advice during the data analysis, and Marge Dalian and Donna Krips assisted in
manuscript preparation. Of course, responsibility for the manuscript and any errors
remain ours.
REFERENCES
Acock, A. c., and V. L. Bengtson. 1980. Socialization and attribution processes: Actual versus perceived
similarity among parents and youth. Journal of Marriage and the Family 42:501-515.
Alwin, D. F., and R. M. Hauser. 1975. The decomposition of effects in path analysis. American
Sociological Review 40:37-47.
Chilman, C. S. 1983. Coital Behaviors of Adolescents in the United States: A Summary of Research and
Implication for Further Studies. Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Psychological
Association.
Davies, M., and D. B. Kandel. 1981. Parental and peer influences on adolescents' educational plans:
Some further evidence. American Journal of Sociology 87:363-387.
DeLamater, J., and P. MacCorquodale. 1979. Premarital Sexuality. Madison: University of Wisconsin
Press.
Duncan, O. D. 1975. Introduction to Structural Equation Models. New York: Academic Press.
Fox, G. L. 1981. The family's role in adolescent sexual behavior. Pp. 73-130 in T. Ooms (ed.), Teenage
Pregnancy in a Family Context. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Furstenberg, F. F., Jr. 1981. Implicating the family: Teenage parenthood and kinship involvement. Pp.
131-164 in T. Ooms (ed.), Teenage Pregnancy in a Family Context. Philadelphia: Temple University
Press.
Furstenberg, F. F., Jr., R. Herceg-Baron, J. Shea, and D. Webb. 1984. Family communication and
teenagers' contraceptive use. Family Planning Perspectives 16:163-169.

340

DEMOGRAPHY, volume 24, number 3, August 1987

Herceg-Baron, R., and F. F. Furstenberg, Jr. 1982. Adolescent contraceptive use: The impact of family
support systems. Pp. 125-144 in G. L. Fox (ed.), The Childbearing Decision: Fertility Attitudes and
Behavior. Beverly Hills: Sage.
Hogan, D. P., and E. M. Kitagawa. 1985. The impact of social status, family structure, and neighborhood
on the fertility of black adolescents. American Journal of Sociology 90:825-855.
Inazu, J. K., and G. L. Fox. 1980. Maternal influence on the sexual behavior of teenage daughters.
Journal of Family Issues 1:81-102.
Joreskog, K. G., and D. Sorborn. 1978. LISREL IV-A General Computer Program for Estimation of a
Linear Structural Equation System by Maximum Likelihood Methods. Chicago: National Educational
Resources.
- - . 1979. Advances in Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Models. Cambridge, Mass.: Abt
Books.
Kiernan, K. E. 1983. The Structure of Families Today: Continuity or Change. Paper presented at British
Society for Population Studies Conference on the Family, September 1983.
Moore, K. A., J. L. Peterson, and F. F. Furstenberg, Jr. 1984. Starting Early: The Antecedents of Early
Premarital Intercourse. Revised version of a paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the Population
Association of America.
Mott, F. L. 1984. The Patterning of Female Teenage Sexual Behaviors and Attitudes. Revised version of
a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association.
Newcomer, S. F., and J. R. Udry. 1984. Mothers' influence on the sexual behavior of teenage children.
Journal of Marriage and the Family 46:477-485.
O'Connell, M. 0., and C. C. Rogers. 1984.Out-of-wedlock births, premarital pregnancies and their effect
on family formation and dissolution. Family Planning Perspectives 16:157-162.
Reiss, I. L., and B. C. Miller. 1979. Heterosexual permissiveness: A theoretical analysis. Pp. 57-100 in
W. R. Burr, R. Hill, F. I. Nye, and 1. L. Reiss (eds.), Contemporary Theories About the Family. New
York: Free Press.
Sweet, J. A. 1979. Estimates of Levels, Trends, and Characteristics of the "Living Together" Population
From the Current Population Survey. Working Paper 79-49. University of Wisconsin, Center for
Demography and Ecology.
Wintermute, W. L. 1982. Youthspeak on Adolescent Sex: Toward a Comprehensive Theoretical Model.
Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, Dept. of Sociology and School of Social
Work.
Zelnik, M., and J. F. Kantner. 1980a. Sexual activity, contraceptive use and pregnancy among
metropolitan area teenagers: 1971-1979. Family Planning Perspectives 12:230-237.
- - - 1980b. Sexual and contraceptive experience of young unmarried women in the United States,
1976 and 1971. Pp. 43-81 in C. S. Chillman (ed.), Adolescent Pregnancy and Childbearing: Findings
From Research. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Zelnik, M., J. F. Kantner, and K. Ford. 1981. Sex and Pregnancy in Adolescents. Beverly Hills: Sage.