Changes In Teen Girls’ Sexual Behavior Suggested By New Data
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Nanette Gartrell, 415-346-2336, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHANGES IN TEEN GIRLS’ SEXUAL BEHAVIOR SUGGESTED BY NEW DATA
New analysis of the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) compared data collected in the 6th cycle (2002) to data collected in 2006-2008 (7th cycle). It found that 17-year-old girls in the later cohort were significantly less likely to have been heterosexually active (63% v. 46%) and more than twice as likely to have had same-sex contact (5% v. 11%). This group of teens was also more than three times as likely to have used emergency contraception (5% v. 17%) and less likely to have been pregnant (18% v. 12%).
When compared with same-age girls of the 7th cycle, 17-year-old daughters of lesbian mothers in the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) were not found to be significantly different in terms of same-sex behavior or emergency contraception use, although the NLLFS daughters were significantly older at first heterosexual activity (16.3 v.15.5 years) and less likely ever to have used contraception (48% v. 76%). Compared with 7th cycle boys, the sons of lesbian mothers were significantly less likely to have been heterosexually active by the age of 17 (38% v. 61%), but no more likely to have been homosexually active.
Lead author Dr. Nanette Gartrell said: “Between 2002 and 2006-2008, the percentage of 17-year-old American girls who had ever been pregnant dropped significantly. Factors that may account for this drop include our findings that more were waiting until later in adolescence to become heterosexually involved, more were using emergency contraception if they were heterosexually active, and perhaps even that more were engaging in same-sex behavior. It will be interesting to see if the next cycle of NSFG data collection reveals whether these changes are a long-term trend.”
The study was conducted by Nanette Gartrell, MD, Henny Bos, PhD (University of Amsterdam), and Naomi Goldberg, MPP (a Fellow at the Williams Institute during the time that this work was done). Principal investigator Nanette Gartrell, MD, is a 2011-12 Williams Institute Visiting Distinguished Scholar and also affiliated with the University of Amsterdam. She can be contacted via the email address and phone number above.
For more information about this study, please see Archives of Sexual Behavior:
Also, visit the NLLFS website at www.nllfs.org
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