This study explores the relationship between teen sexual activity and substance use, emotional health and peer and family influence. It also examines factors related to early sexual initiation. This follow up study to Rated PG: How parental influence impacts teen sexual activity, utilizes data analysis by IMFC Research Fellow Dr. Frank Jones. Using data from Statistics Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, Dr. Jones explored behaviour related to sexual choices among 14 to 19-year-olds. The data shows that 39.9 per cent of teens in this age range have had consensual sexual intercourse, which is 41.6 per cent of girls and 38.1 percent of boys.
Some interesting findings include:
- Teen marijuana users are much more likely to be sexually active than non- users. This is strikingly true among adolescent girls
- An increase of episodes of drunkenness correlated with greater likelihood of being sexually active
- Increased time with a boyfriend or girlfriend related to a greater likelihood of sexual activity
Adolescent sexual behaviour places teens at risk of ill health, unintended pregnancy and emotional concerns. The earlier teens initiate sex, the greater the risk. The results suggest that risky behaviours are often related and that many teens may be exposed to multiple hazards. Family members are uniquely placed to help and support teens.
Our top recommendations:
- Parents are the primary educators, helping teens articulate and integrate values in everyday decision making
- Family members should be aware that one risk behaviour may be symptomatic of a larger profile of risk behaviour
- Correlations were found between attempting suicide and being sexual active among girls
- Parents should be encouraged to treat teens, not problems. Parents should strive for a parenting style that is warm, caring and communicative. Sufficient parental supervision, expressed expectations and limits help teens transition towards becoming healthy, autonomous adults
Download the full report below