Independent and dependent variables in adolescent and young adult sexuality research: Conceptual and operational difficulties

Ronald Jay Werner-Wilson, Jim Wahler, Jill Kreutzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We concluded, after reviewing 130 articles related to adolescent and young adult sexuality, that efforts to understand sexuality in this population are hampered by three aspects of typical approaches to the research process: (a) examination of single classes of predictor variables; (b) differences in operationalization of dependent variables; and (c) sampling differences. The present study, in an effort to demonstrate that conceptual clarity is impeded by these factors, examined the simultaneous influence of multiple predictor variables using data collected from a sample of college students enrolled in an undergraduate human sexuality class. We examined four different classes of dependent variables; birth control, choice of sexual partners, condom use, and the combination of condom use and choice of sexual partners. Results support the strategy to conduct separate analyses for each class of dependent variables. No single predictor variable, for example, was significant in all four regression models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-144
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education for Adolescents and Children
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Address correspo~idelicet o Ronald Jay Werner-Wilson, Depart~menot f Human Development and Family Stutlics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-1'120 (e-mail: rjwilson@lamar.colostate.cdu). 'Sliis research was funded, in part, by a grant from the Faculty Research and Creative Activities Support Fund, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.


  • Birth control
  • Research issues in sexuality research
  • Safer sexual practices
  • Young adult sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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