The Influence of Adolescents' Sexual Relationships on Young Adults' Well-Being

Monica A. Longmore, Bowling Green State University
Peggy C. Giordano, Bowling Green State University
Jennifer Copp, Bowling Green State University

This paper examines the influence of variations in adolescents’ sexual experiences on consequential personal and relational outcomes during emerging adulthood including self-esteem, depression, gainful activity, and intimate partner violence. The analyses are based on the Toledo Adolescent Relationship Study (TARS) (n = 376). Data for the focal independent variables are from the fourth interview (2006), when respondents were ages 18-19. The subsequent outcomes are from the fifth interview (2011), when respondents were ages 22-23. Results reveal no significant associations between number of sex partners, number of casual sex partners, number of dating partners during adolescence, and depressive symptoms, nor gainful activity during young adulthood. The number of dating partners is positively associated with self-esteem and intimate partner violence net of the other covariates. The findings are important because they suggest that some conventional wisdoms regarding adolescent sexual involvement may not provide an accurate portrait of the consequences of these experiences.

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Presented in Session 125: Sex, Fertility, and Well-Being