Minority Teens Follow Family Cues When it Comes to Sex

Study found black, Hispanic males had it early if relative was teen parent

THURSDAY, Jan. 9, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- The sexual behavior of black and Hispanic teenagers is influenced by their family history.

That provocative finding comes courtesy of a study in the January/February issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior.

The study of black and Hispanic teens living in San Bernardino County, Calif., found black male teenagers who were sons of fathers who had been teen dads were three times more likely to be sexually active compared to black male teenagers whose fathers had not been teen dads.

The study also found teenage Hispanic males were 10 times more likely to engage in sexual intercourse if they had a brother or sister who had been a teen parent.

Of the 178 teenagers surveyed for the study, 67 percent were sexually active. The main reasons they engaged in sex included enjoyment, curiosity and pressure from friends. Male teens also said they had sex to prove their manhood.

The study found that black teenagers who attended church were significantly less likely to be sexually active. Hispanic teens who believed their parents were strongly against teenage sex, and younger Hispanic teens, 13 to 16 years old, were also less likely to be sexually active.

Teenagers who reported their parents had permissive attitudes about sex and teenagers who believed their peers were sexually active were more likely to have sex, the study said.

More than half of the teenagers in the study who engaged in sexual intercourse were from single-parent homes. All the teenagers in the study lived in low-income homes.

More information

Here's where to learn more about teenagers and sexual behavior.

SOURCE: Center for the Advancement of Health, news release, Jan. 2, 2003
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