Dating Age and Stage as Correlates of Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behavior
AbstractDating experiences, especially the type or stage of dating, have consistently been found to be related to premarital sexual behavior. Findings regarding the age at first date and sexual behavior have been less consistent. This paper examined the age at which dating began and the type of dating relationship as correlates of premarital sexual attitudes and behavior amond mid-teen adolescents. The analyses were based on a sample of high school students (n = 836), most of whom were between the ages of 15 and 18 when the surveys were conducted. Early dating, especially early steady dating, was related to permissive attitudes and to premarital sexual experience among both males and females. The relationship between early dating and intercourse experience was particularly strong among Mormons, a religious group which has institutionalized age 16 as the legitimate age to begin dating.