Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Degree Program

College of Nursing


Adolescents’ perceptions of reasons for abstinence, safer sex, and unsafe sex were investigated. The study used a descriptive design, with a questionnaire administered to 82 Midwestern ninth grade students enrolled in a school health class. From a written scenario describing a couple who are sexually attracted to each other, students were asked to identify reasons the couple might choose to abstain from, or use or not use a condom if they chose to have, sexual intercourse. This study supported earlier research by Keller et al. (1996) which identified four factors perceived by adolescents as contributing to sexual behavior; social norms, fear, gratification or pleasure, and condom availability. In addition, five other factors which affected adolescent sexual behaviors were identified: readiness, relationship issues, emotional maturity, moral issues, and desire for pregnancy. The results were analyzed for differences between demographic characteristics and choice of outcomes, but none were identified.


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