Religiosity, sexual behaviors, and sexual attitudes during emerging adulthood

Eva S. Lefkowitz, Meghan M. Gillen, Cindy L. Shearer, Tanya L. Boone

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


The current study examined associations between religiosity and sexual behaviors and attitudes during emerging adulthood. Two hundred and five emerging adults completed surveys about five aspects of their religiosity (group affiliation, attendance at religious services, attitudes, perceptions of negative sanctions, and adherence to sanctions) and their sexual behaviors (abstinence, age of onset, lifetime partners, condom use) and attitudes (conservative attitudes, perceived vulnerability to HIV, and condom-related beliefs). Associations were found between the measures of religiosity and sexuality, although the patterns differed by measures used. Religious behavior was the strongest predictor of sexual behavior. Many aspects of religiosity were associated with general sexual attitudes, which was not the case for perceived vulnerability to HIV and condom-related beliefs. The findings support reference group theory and highlight the importance of considering the specific constructs of religiosity and sexuality assessed in studies of these topics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-159
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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