Although early sexual initiation has been linked to negative outcomes, it is unknown whether these effects are causal. In this study, we use propensity score methods to estimate the causal effect of early sexual initiation on young adult sexual risk behaviors and health outcomes using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. We found that early sexual initiation predicted having two or more partners (for both males and females) and having a sexually transmitted infection in the past year (females only) but did not predict depressive symptoms in the past week (for either gender). These results underscore the importance of continued programmatic efforts to delay age of sexual initiation, particularly for females.
- Public health
- Sexual behavior (including pregnancy)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies