Age at migration, family instability, and timing of sexual onset

Rachel E. Goldberg, Marta Tienda, Alícia Adserà

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study builds on and extends previous research on nativity variations in adolescent health and risk behavior by addressing three questions: (1) whether and how generational status and age at migration are associated with timing of sexual onset among U.S. adolescents; (2) whether and how family instability mediates associations between nativity and sexual debut; and (3) whether and how these associations vary by gender. We find that first- and second-generation immigrant youth initiate sexual activity later than native youth. Foreign-born youth who migrate after the start of adolescence exhibit the latest sexual onset; boys’ sexual behavior is particularly sensitive to age at migration. Parental union stability is protective for first- and second-generation youth, especially boys; however, instability in co-residence with parents accelerates sexual debut for foreign-born girls, and dilutes protections from parental marital stability. Use of a non-English language at home delays sexual onset for immigrant girls, but not boys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-307
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science Research
Volume63
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Family instability
  • Immigrant
  • Sexual behavior

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