Social cognitive correlates of sexual experience and condom use among 13- through 15-year-old adolescents

Colleen Diiorio, William N. Dudley, Maureen Kelly, Johanna E. Soet, Joyce Mbwara, Jennifer Sharpe Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the role of self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, and perception of peer attitudes in the delay of onset of sexual activity among 13- through 15-year-old adolescents. We also explored the role of self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, and perception of friends' condom use behavior in explaining the use of condoms among sexually active adolescents. Methods: This study was part of a larger cross-sectional study to evaluate personal characteristics and maternal factors associated with early initiation of sexual intercourse. Mothers and adolescents were recruited from a community-based organization that offered afterschool and summer programs for youth. Enrollment was limited to adolescents aged 13-15 years and their mothers. Mothers and adolescents completed separate interviews. For adolescents, the interviews included the assessment of the variables in the present study. Each interview lasted about 60 min and was conducted by a trained interviewer. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis. The average age of the 405 adolescent participants was 13.86 years, and approximately 30% of them had engaged in sexual intercourse. Slightly more than half (56%) of participants were male, and 82% were African-American. Results: Participants who were less likely to believe that their friends favored intercourse for adolescents and who held more favorable attitudes about the personal benefits of abstaining from sex were less likely to have initiated sexual intercourse. Among sexually active adolescents, those who expressed confidence in putting on a condom, and in being able to refuse sex with a sexual partner, and who expressed more favorable outcome expectancies associated with using a condom were more likely to use condoms consistently. Conclusions: Human immunodeficiency virus and pregnancy prevention programs should emphasize peer influences in both the initiation of sexual intercourse and the use of safer sex practices among sexually active adolescents, as well as personal attitudes about consequences to self and confidence in negotiating safer sex practices with one's partner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-216
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Condom use
  • Self-efficacy
  • Sexual experience
  • Social Cognitive Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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