Sexual Behavior, Attitudes toward Marriage and Cohabitation, and Skin Tone: Exploring Relations from Emerging Adulthood to Young Adulthood

Antoinette M. Landor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Race and gender are important factors in understanding marriage and cohabitation attitudes, as well as sexual behavior. Yet few studies have explored whether marriage and cohabitation attitudes are longitudinally associated with sexual behavior, and whether associations may differ by race and gender. In addition, little is known about what role skin tone may play in these links. This study uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N= 7069) to address these issues. Drawing on family and sociological theories, it is hypothesized that more positive attitudes toward marriage and negative attitudes toward cohabitation would be associated with less risky sexual behaviors. Findings did not support direct associations across race and gender. Darker skin tone, however, was found to be associated with risky sexual behavior, and also moderated associations between attitudes and sexual behavior for some demographic groups.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility Intentions and Behavior