Research over the last 30 years has examined the way in which young people make decisions about participating in sexual behaviours. This research is limited in that theoretical developments in the area have either not been subjected to empirical scrutiny, or are not consistent with empirical findings. The current study used a modified form of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) as a theoretical position for a longitudinal exploration (over a 6-month period) of sexual decision making in a group of young adult women. One hundred and fifty-six young women aged between 18 and 21 years were involved in the study. Regression analysis were used to evaluate the predictors of intention to engage in six types of sexual behaviours at time 1, as well as experiences of these behaviours at time 2. The study found that intention to engage in sexual behaviour was reasonably well predicted using the constructs of TPB. However, behaviour was not well predicted using the variables in TPB, with the most important predictors of most sexual behaviours being past experience and perceived behavioural control, but not intention to engage in the behaviours. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.
Field of Research
170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
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