Parental Family Experiences, the Timing of First Sex, and Contraception

Publication Abstract

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R., and William G. Axinn. 2010. "Parental Family Experiences, the Timing of First Sex, and Contraception." Social Science Research 39(6):875-893.

By investigating the intergenerational consequences of multiple aspects of family experiences across the life course this paper advances what we know about the forces shaping children's initiation of sexual and contraceptive behaviors. Our aim is to advance the scientific understanding of early sexual experiences by explicitly considering contraceptive use and by differentiating between the consequences of parental family experiences during childhood and those during adolescence and young adulthood. Thanks to unique, highly detailed data measuring parental family experiences throughout the life course and sexual dynamics early in life it is possible to provide detailed empirical estimates of the relationship between parental family experiences and contraceptive use at first sex—a relationship about which we know relatively little. Findings reveal (1) significant simultaneous consequences of many different dimensions of parental family experiences for the timing of first sex and the likelihood of using contraception at first sex, but the specific dimensions of family important for the specific behavior vary across racial groups; and (2) that parental family experiences influence the timing of sex and contraceptive use differently.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.06.015

PMCID: PMC2978908