Precocious Behaviors in Early Adolescence
Employment and the Transition to First Sexual Intercourse
Published in: Journal of Early Adolescence, v. 26, no. 1, Feb. 2006, p. 60-86
Posted on RAND.org on February 01, 2006
This article explores the relationship between employment and first sexual intercourse in the early teen years. Past research has examined the influence of a wide range of social contexts on adolescent sexual behavior. Very few studies, however, consider the work-place. In this study, a series of Cox proportional hazard models predicting the risk of first sexual intercourse were estimated for a sample of eighth graders aged 12 to 14 from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (N = 10,704). Working more than 4 hr a week and holding an adult-type job is associated with an increased risk of engaging in sexual intercourse in early adolescence. These effects remain after controlling for sociodemographic variables, family and academic factors, and measures of age-graded development. The findings lend support to the precocious development hypothesis, which posits that taking on adult roles at an early age may speed up the onset of other adult behaviors.