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Religiosity, Self-Control, and Virginity Status in College Students from the “Bible Belt”: A Research Note

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Using a sample of college students (N = 904) from the “Bible Belt,” this study examines the effect of religiosity and self-control on late adolescents’ delay in initiating sexual intercourse or oral sex. Findings from logistic regressions provide evidence that for each one unit increase in self-control, the odds of a male remaining a virgin or of delaying oral sex increased by a factor of 1.82 and 2.84, respectively, while for females, the odds of not engaging in oral sex increased by a factor of 1.67. In addition to the effect of self-control, a one unit increase in religiosity results in the odds of a male remaining a virgin by a factor of 3.86 and 3.30, respectively. For females the odds are increased by a factor of 4.13 and 2.60, respectively. Mediation tests also provided evidence that self-control mediated the effects by religiosity on both dependent measures. Thus, both religiosity and self-control independently and additively function as key social control mechanisms that promote late adolescent health.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Human Development & Family StudiesAuburn University

Publication date: September 1, 2010


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