Literature supports that adolescent early sexual initiation is more likely to result in multiple sex partners and less protection, making early sexual activity an HIV/ AIDS risk. Delaying sexual initiation may thus be an important combatant to the spread of HIV/ AIDS. This study's objective was to examine sexual initiation in 234 Jamaican youth ages 13-19. Perception of peers' and parents' pro-risk attitudes, parental monitoring, parental discussions about sex; religious importance and HIV/AIDS knowledge were investigated via a survey including items from the Center for Disease Control's Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS).

This study utilized archival data as part of larger LLUIRB approved study assessing youth risk behaviors in the Caribbean.

Univariate logistic regression analyses demonstrated that the youth's perception of mothers, peers, and father as pro-risk, parental monitoring, and religiosity significantly distinguished between sexually active and non-sexually active youth.

When significant predictors were entered hierarchically, maternal influence, peer influence, parental monitoring, and religiosity were significant distinguishing factors while paternal influence lost significance. In addition to peers, adolescent perception of mothers as pro-risk promotes sexual initiation, while parental monitoring (adolescent accountability) and religiosity protect. Further, this study provides support that discussions and knowledge about sex and HIV/ AIDS increase awareness but do not change behavior. Investigations into how these psychosocial factors may be important in youth HIV/ AIDS prevention/ intervention are crucial.

LLU Discipline

General Psychology




Graduate School

First Advisor

Kiti Freier Randall

Second Advisor

Duane C. McBride

Third Advisor

Jason Owen

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Adolescent Psychology -- Caribbean Region -- dissertations; Psychosexual Development -- in adolescence -- Caribbean Region; Sex Behavior -- in adolescence -- Caribbean Region; Sexually Transmitted Diseases -- prevention & control -- Caribbean Region; Family Relations -- Caribbean Region



Page Count

ix; 70

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Psychology Commons