Religious involvement, race/ethnicity, family and adolescent sexual activity
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While previous research has generally shown that religious involvement is associated with delayed and reduced adolescent sexual activity, literature in this area has remained underdeveloped for a number of theoretical and methodological reasons. Further, few scholars have examined how the impact of religious involvement on adolescent sexual activity varies as a function of key social characteristics, namely gender, age, race/ethnicity and family context. Consistent with previous research, religious involvement (particularly adolescent religious salience) appears to delay and reduce multiple forms of adolescent sexual behavior. However, the impact of religion does appear to variety as a function of theoretically relevant characteristics. For example, religion appears to be a much weaker predictor for African American adolescents than for non-Hispanic White teens. Further, although the effects of religious activity on sex appear to be roughly linear for white adolescents, only the highest levels of religious involvement appear to delay sexual intercourse among African American youth. It also appears that close parent-child relationships and higher levels of parental monitoring may amplify the protective effect of religious involvement on adolescent sexual behavior.