Religious Influences on Delayed Sexual Initiation among Brazilian Adolescents

Curtis Ogland, University of Texas at San Antonio
Xiaohe Xu, Mississippi State University

This paper examines the influence of religious factors on delayed sexual initiation among non-married Brazilian adolescents ages 15-19. The analysis draws upon data from the 2003 Profile of Brazilian Youth survey using a sub-sample of non-married male and female Brazilian adolescents ages 15-19 (N=1805). Multivariate logistical regression was employed to determine the strength of association, between two key religious variables (religious affiliation and religious group participation), net of covariates, on having had a first sexual experience before age 18. Results indicate that both male and female adolescents affiliated with Protestant faiths, particularly Pentecostalism, have significantly lower odds of reporting sexual initiation before age 18 compared to their non-affiliated counterparts. Additionally, teens belonging to a religious group also demonstrated lower odds of sexual initiation. The research points to the salutary effects of religion as a direct and indirect influence on teenage sexual behavior in the Brazilian context.

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Presented in Poster Session 5