Factors comprising adolescents’ readiness for sexual behaviors : a latent profile analysis



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The current study used multi-wave data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to examine the existence of typologies of readiness for sexual intercourse and contraception among a nationally representative sample of adolescents aged 15-18. Grounded in the theory of planned behavior, the current study used latent profile analyses to establish five profiles of sexual readiness based on adolescents' attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control for sexual intercourse and contraception. Analyses were conducted cross-sectionally and longitudinally, and five classes were confirmed at each of two waves. The current study established and characterized four profiles of readiness for sexual behavior at both waves: “impulsive adolescents,” “precarious adolescents,” “well-controlled adolescents,” and “conservatively-reared adolescents.” Two separate fifth profiles also emerged: “hasty adolescents” at wave 1, and “unrestrained adolescents” at wave 2. Logistic regression of longitudinal data indicated that compared to “impulsive adolescents” at wave 1, “precarious” and “conservatively-reared” adolescents were significantly less likely to engage in sexual intercourse at wave 2, and “well-controlled” adolescents were significantly less likely to engage in casual sex. Wave 1 cross-sectional data indicated that “precarious” adolescents were less likely to have used contraception either at their first time or most recent time of sex, and all other profiles were more likely to have employed contraception than “impulsive” adolescents. Wave 2 cross-sectional analyses indicated that two profiles (“precarious” and “conservatively-reared”) were less likely to engage in sexual intercourse, and two profiles (“well-controlled” and “unrestrained”) were more likely to engage in sexual intercourse than “impulsive” adolescents.