The Timing of Sexual Intercourse among Adolescents Family, Peer, and Other Antecedents


Parent-Child relationship, early childhood development, child, parent


Children's perceptions of their relationships with their parents and peers in 1976 and 1981, respectively, along with other salient antecedent variables, were related to their age at first sexual intercourse, as reported in 1987. Data came from the National Survey of Children, a three-wave longitudinal study of 1,145 children age 7-11 (Wave 1), 12-16 (Wave 2), and 18-22 (Wave 3). Antecedent variables were taken from both Round 1 and Round 2 surveys. When the same variables were present at both times, the more recent data were used if the survey occurred prior to age of first sexual intercourse; if not, the Round 1 data were used. Separate analyses were run to predict timing of sexual intercourse for males and females. Age of first date, dating often, number of friends perceived to have had sex at age 16, being Black, having parents undergo marital changes during the child's school years, and fighting at school were the most significant predictors of age at first sexual intercourse among males. All of these variables except fighting at school and dating frequency were significant predictors among females. Additional significant variables predicting age of first sex among females were menarche, parents' education, mother's coercive behavior and love withdrawal, and attitudes about attending religious services.

Original Publication Citation

Miller, B. C., Norton, M. C., Curtis, T., Hill, E. J., Schvaneveldt, P., & Young, M. H. (1997). The timing of sexual intercourse among adolescents: Family, peer, and other antecedents. Youth and Society, 29(1), 54-83. doi: 10.1177/0044118X97029001003

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Youth and Society




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor