Neighborhood, family, and work: influences on the premarital behaviors of adolescent males

Leighton Ku, Freya L. Sonenstein, Joseph H. Pleck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


This article examines the effects of neighborhood, family, and individual characteristics on teenage males’ premarital sexual and contraceptive behaviors and on their experiences with pregnancy or fatherhood, using data from the 1988 National Survey of Adolescent Males and the 1980 census. It also systematically compares the effects of related personal and neighborhood traits in multilevel analysis, including employment, income, education, welfare receipt, family composition, and race/ethnicity. Young men who worked more hours were more sexually active and also were more likely to have made someone pregnant. However, higher neighborhood unemployment rates were also independently associated with greater risk of impregnation. Thus, greater financial resources at the personal level may enable teenage males to attract more partners and, therefore, may heighten their risk of impregnating someone, while more limited economic opportunities at the community level may also heighten the risks of paternity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-503
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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