Although we could not directly estimate and control for respondents' socioeconomic status, our analyses may have controlled for some characteristics that are broadly associated with socioeconomic status: Our findings also may have special significance to policymakers with reference to statutory rape laws. Family Planning Perspectives, , 27 4: Their findings suggested that wantedness is inversely related to the age difference between a young woman and her partner, and that it may be related to her limited control over the situation. Simply educating females about abstinence and safer sexual practices is likely to be insufficient if their romantic partners are significantly older. Almeda, then 71, and Gary Hardwick, then 17, briefly met two summers ago at her son Robert's funeral after he tragically died of a seizure aged
For example, parents of male adolescents should be encouraged to communicate with their sons about healthy relationships and partner choices, to help them develop into men who are comfortable with and, consequently, pursue age-appropriate partners. Family Planning Perspectives, , 27 4: Authors' Affiliations Christine E. In contrast, among females whose age at first intercourse was , having older partners was not linked to these negative outcomes. Barcroft Media Despite the staggering difference in their age, Gary and Almeda have similar interests and hobbies Image: Their findings suggested that wantedness is inversely related to the age difference between a young woman and her partner, and that it may be related to her limited control over the situation. The age difference between a female and her partner may influence relationship dynamics in ways that put the female at increased risk of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Abma and colleagues used NSFG data to examine partner age difference in the context of measuring "wantedness" of first intercourse. Although of interest to us, it was not feasible to directly estimate socioeconomic status from questionnaire data; information about household income was often missing. For example, among year-old females, the odds of intercourse with a partner who was six years older were more than six times the odds of intercourse with a same-age partner odds ratio, 6. November 1, DOI: Other covariates that we examined were the respondent's age at the start of the romantic relationship coded in single years , her race or ethnicity coded as white, black, Hispanic or other , her religious affiliation coded as Baptist, Catholic, none or other , her mother's educational level whether the mother had graduated from college and whether a "mother figure" lived in her home at the time of the interview. To explore the effects of these potential biases, we repeated some of our analyses using data from the respondents who reported only relationships that had already ended. Subsequent questionnaire items asked for characteristics of each partner in turn. I looked into his eyes and I just fell in love. Furthermore, the full potential of parental involvement and monitoring on promoting age-appropriate partner choices is not known. Add Health was conducted by J. Future research activities need to examine the reasons that adolescent females become involved with older partners, and vice versa, as well as the factors that promote same-age relationships between adolescents, which are less likely to be sexual. However, our current understanding of the role of age gaps in romantic relationships is limited, and it is based mainly on studies of couples who are already sexually active. Ford K, Sohn W and Lepkowski J, Characteristics of adolescents' sexual partners and their association with use of condoms and other methods, Family Planning Perspectives, , 33 3: Similarly, a relationship between a year-old female and an older male partner is likely quite different from that between a year-old female and an adult male. Finally, these findings should not be extrapolated to relationships in which the male is substantially younger than the female. Data from 1, female participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were analyzed using logistic regression to determine whether the age difference between an adolescent female and her romantic partner is a risk factor for sexual intercourse. Furthermore, females who become involved with older partners may experience longer relationships because older males may expect or desire longer or more "serious" relationships than same-age males; one result may be a higher likelihood of progression to intercourse. I was never intimidated by the age at all. For example, the relationship between a year-old female and an older male may be qualitatively different than that between a year-old female and a male of the same age. For this reason, we did not treat the duration of the relationship as a confounder; instead, we treated it as a possible intermediate factor in the pathway.
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