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

29 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
Externally publishedYes


  • Motivations for sex
  • Religiosity
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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