Social Influences on Sexuality
Much of what is known about Hispanic adolescent sexuality comes from studies that compare Hispanics with other ethnic groups. For instance, Hispanic adolescent fertility has been found to be as high, or higher, than White teens', but lower than that of Black adolescents (Darabi & Ortiz, 1987; Hayes, 1987). White teens report a higher number of coital partners than Hispanic teens(Aneshensel, Fielder, & Becerra, 1989), but the pregnancy rate for Hispanic teenage females is higher than that of Whites (Hayes, 1987). Furthermore, socioeconomic status alone does not explain the higher fertility rate of Hispanic females (Aneshensel et al., 1989).
Only a few studies have examined possible influences on the initiation of sexual activity by Hispanics, and these have been limited to family structure variables (e.g., Aneshensel et al., 1989) or measures of individual characteristics (e.g., Robbins, Kaplan, & Martin, 1985). Family interaction has not been included in any studies to date, and only one study has examined peer influences using female Hispanics (Gibson & Kempf, 1990). The lack of attention to family interaction is somewhat surprising because this particular ethnic minority possesses a strong devotion to "la familia" (Zayas & Schinke, 1987). Hence, it could be postulated that family relationships are likely to play a significant role in this group's adolescent sexual behavior
The purpose of our study was to address this deficiency by examining the relative influence of family, individual, and social variables on the sexual activity of Hispanic adolescents. In contrast to previous work, we used a sample of Hispanic teens at an early stage of adolescent development and focused on a range of sexual behaviors instead of concentrating exclusively on sexual intercourse. Such an approach allowed an examination of the relative strength of different correlates at a developmental period when many adolescents are exploring the early stages of...