Testing two process models of religiosity and sexual behavior

Sara A. Vasilenko, Christina I. Duntzee, Yao Zheng, Eva S. Lefkowitz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Scopus citations


    Adolescents who are more religious are less likely to have sex, but the process by which religiosity impacts sexual behavior is not well established. We tested two potential processes, involving: (1) whether religiosity suppressed individuals' motivations to have sex for physical pleasure, and (2) whether individuals internalized their religions' teachings about sex for pleasure. College students (N=610, 53.8% female, M age=18.5, 26.1% Hispanic Latino [HL], 14.9% non-HL African American, 23.8% non-HL Asian American/Pacific Islander, 26.3% non-HL European American and 8.9% non-HL multiracial) completed web surveys during their first three semesters. Religiosity did not moderate the association between students' motivations for sex for pleasure and sexual behavior. Motivations mediated the association between religiosity and sexual behavior, suggesting that religion does not override adolescents' existing motivations, but instead, religious adolescents internalize norms about sexual behavior. Testing Two Process Models of Religiosity and Sexual Behavior.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)667-673
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Adolescence
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Aug 2013

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
    • Social Psychology
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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