Compared with delayers, anticipators in the study by Whitaker and colleagues reported more risky behaviors, such as smoking, using alcohol and drugs, and carrying a weapon; they also were more likely to have friends who engaged in risky behaviors, but they were less likely to report parental monitoring.
We aimed to further characterize the factors affecting transition to first intercourse among delayers and anticipators by analyzing longitudinal data from a randomly selected, national sample.
Those who reported little or no chance were classified as delayers, and those reporting a 50% or greater chance were categorized as anticipators. In our analysis of the transition to first sex, the dependent variable indicated whether sexual initiation had occurred within the next year.
No difference was found between delayers and anticipators in terms of self-control or self-esteem, and neither factor contributed significantly to models that predicted the transition to first intercourse.
In initial analyses, an ordinal measure of expected educational level was included, but this measure did not differ significantly between anticipators and delayers or influence the transition to first sex, so it was excluded from the analysis.
To identify differences in frequency distributions and mean scores between delayers and anticipators, we used two-tailed Student t-tests.
We modeled the likelihood of initiating intercourse within one year first for the entire sample and then separately for delayers and anticipators. After analyzing these regression models, we examined interaction terms to determine whether effects differed significantly between delayers and anticipators.
Thirty-six percent of the sample reported expecting to initiate intercourse within one year and are thus classified as anticipators; the remainder reported not expecting to initiate intercourse within one year and are categorized as delayers.
Anticipators had engaged in significantly more risky behaviors than delayers (1.5 vs.
The different background profiles of anticipators and delayers suggest the presence of two contrasting contexts that influence the transition to first intercourse: Delayers appear to be more invested in deferring intercourse, and may be supported by their ties to parents and church.