Mothers' influence on the timing of first sex among 14- and 15-year-olds

Clea Mcneely, Marcia L. Shew, Trisha Beuhring, Renee Sieving, Brent C. Miller, Robert W.M. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


Purpose: To better understand maternal influence on the timing of first sex for adolescents. Methods: Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the association between maternal characteristics and the timing of first sex. Matched dyads of mothers and their adolescent children were used. Results: Of the 2006 adolescents aged 14 and 15 years who reported to be virgins, 95 males (10.8%) and 162 females (15.8%) indicated they had initiated sex within the follow-up period, 1 year later. For males, few variables beyond the controls used in the models were predictive of timing of first sexual intercourse. For females, mother's satisfaction with her relationship with her daughter (hazard ratio = .62), mother's strong disapproval of her daughter having sex (hazard ratio = .56), and frequency of communication with the parents of her daughter's friends were associated with later sexual debut (hazard ratio = .88). Conclusion: Based on the variables in the model, mothers' values and beliefs and relationship satisfaction have more influence on daughters than on sons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-265
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Gender differences
  • Mother-adolescent relationship
  • Sexual intercourse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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