Girls experiencing sexual intercourse early: could it play a part in reproductive health in middle adulthood?

Psychology Department, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology (Impact Factor: 1.23). 01/2007; 27(4):237-44. DOI: 10.1080/01674820600869006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of the present study is to examine the possible relationship between experiencing early intercourse and reproductive health characteristics in midlife for women. The participants belonged to the Swedish longitudinal research program Individual Development and Adaptation (IDA) project. By the age of 14, the cohort consisted of 590 girls, whereas 522 gave information about the timing of their first sexual intercourse experience. Approximately 29 years later, when the women were 43 years old, a sub-cohort of 369 women participated in the psychological-medical investigation. Those who experienced early intercourse were likely to be different on various demographics and have markers of poorer reproductive health characteristics than their counterparts. More specifically, those experiencing early intercourse were less formally educated, left home earlier, and earned on average less than their counterparts who experienced sexual intercourse later. Early intercourse likely plays a role in not only specific reproductive health but also reproductive health characteristics as a whole in midlife. Early intercourse was consistently a predictor of teenage pregnancy, terminated pregnancies, no use of contraception, and having menstrual symptoms.

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    • "We briefly review previous research, focusing on associations between sexual timing and outcomes in the realm of education, social relations, and well-being. Early sexual intercourse is associated with lower academic motivation and achievement in the short run (Bingham & Crockett, 1996; Martin et al., 2005) as well as lower educational attainment in the long run (Magnusson & Trost, 2006; Spriggs & Halpern, 2008b). The effects appear to be small, for men even more so than for women (Spriggs & Halpern, 2008b). "
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