PIRE Publication - Development of Sexual Expectancies among Adolescents: Contributions by Parents, Peers and the Media


To expand the scant research on sexual expectancies development among non-sexually active adolescents, we examined the relationship between adolescents' exposure to four socializing agents-mother/female guardian, father/male guardian, peers, and television programs with high sexual content-and their endorsement of four sexual expectancies: social benefit, pleasure, social risk, and health risk. Data are from Waves 2 and 3 of a three-wave annual longitudinal study conducted among California adolescents, the majority of whom were not sexually active (N = 914, 84%). Structural equation models were conducted to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between the socializing agents and the sexual expectancies. Cross-sectional results indicate associations between peer sexual communication and social benefit, pleasure, and social risk expectancies. A positive association was found between exposure to music videos and social benefit expectancies, and a negative association was found between exposure to music videos and health risk expectancies. Longitudinal results suggest that communication with peers positively predicted pleasure expectancies and negatively predicted social risk expectancies. No other socializing agents were associated with any sexual expectancies. An invariance test found that significant correlations were similar across the different age groups. Results suggest that efforts to support positive sexual decision making among non-sexually active adolescents should target peer sexual communication.

Ragsdale, Kathleen
Bersamin, Melina M.
Schwartz, Seth J.
Zamboanga, Byron L.
Kerrick, Madeleine R.
Grube, Joel W.