Compared with delayers, anticipators in the study by Whitaker and colleagues reported more risky behaviors, such as smoking, using alcohol and drugs, and carrying a weapon; they also were more likely to have friends who engaged in risky behaviors, but they were less likely to report parental monitoring.
We aimed to further characterize the factors affecting transition to first intercourse among delayers and anticipators by analyzing longitudinal data from a randomly selected, national sample.
Those who reported little or no chance were classified as delayers, and those reporting a 50% or greater chance were categorized as anticipators.
No difference was found between delayers and anticipators in terms of self-control or self-esteem, and neither factor contributed significantly to models that predicted the transition to first intercourse.
In initial analyses, an ordinal measure of expected educational level was included, but this measure did not differ significantly between anticipators and delayers or influence the transition to first sex, so it was excluded from the analysis.
To identify differences in frequency distributions and mean scores between delayers and anticipators, we used two-tailed Student t-tests.
The most common response among delayers was a desire to wait until marriage (32%); only 12% of anticipators cited this reason.
Anticipators had engaged in significantly more risky behaviors than delayers (1.
The different background profiles of anticipators and delayers suggest the presence of two contrasting contexts that influence the transition to first intercourse: Delayers appear to be more invested in deferring intercourse, and may be supported by their ties to parents and church.
Thirteen percent of delayers and 53% of anticipators initiated intercourse within a year of the 1988 survey (not shown), and the difference was statistically significant (p<.
We postulate that either anticipators initiate intercourse because of rebellion against family rules or their parents form more rules in response to the adolescents' involvement in high-risk behaviors.
By far the largest difference between delayers and anticipators was in the effect of having a mother who gave birth as a teenager.