Sexual behaviors and relationship qualities in late adolescent couples

S. S. Rostosky, R. V. Galliher, D. P. Welsh, M. C. Kawaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This study examined the associations between relationship qualities, sexual behaviors, and relationship length in 61 adolescent couples (aged 16-20). For both male and female partners, positive relationship qualities were associated with physical expressions of affection. Perceptions of higher levels of conflict and frustration were associated with more frequent sexual intercourse. Factor analysis and multiple regression indicated that the frequency of sexual behavior and the perception of global relationship quality (support, depth and intimacy) predicted relationship length for these couples. While the frequency of sexual expression was associated with relationship longevity for both male and female partners, positive relationship qualities (depth and intimacy) were additionally associated with relationship longevity for male partners only. Implications of these findings are discussed in light of current gaps in understanding the relational context of adolescent sexual behavior. (C) 2000 The Association for Professionals in Services for Adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-597
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments. Portions of this paper were presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, 27 February 1998, San Diego, California. This research was supported by a dissertation fellowship award to Sharon Rostosky from the Sexuality Research Fellowship Program of the Social Science Research Council with funds provided by the Ford Foundation, and by an NIMH B/START award and a University of Tennessee Professional Development Award to Debroah Welsh.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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