On average, sexually experienced youth spent six out of the last 12 months with no sexual partner, and only 21 percent of sexually active males had more than one partner in any month in the last year. The interviews also provide valuable insights about how young men experience responsiblities associated with sex and the full range of procreative events. Across surveys, reported condom use was consistently higher among males. Each has a unique purpose, methodology and frequency of administration. The data show that among sexually experienced young men the mean number of partners in the last 12 months is 1. While methodologies and populations varied by survey, adolescents aged who attend high school were a common subpopulation among all four. A randomized experiment in the NSAM found considerable differences between self-administered, paper-and-pencil questionnaires and computer-assisted self-interviews for highly sensitive behaviors e. There were significant increases in the proportions of all males, white males, all females and white females reporting having had sexual intercourse in the past three months in the YRBS; the trend was downward but nonsignificant in the NSFG and the NSAM for these groups. The reporting of more numerous recent sexual partners by young males than by young females may represent true differences in behavior or systematic differences in reporting by gender.
Fam Plann Perspect Sep-Oct;23 5: Few significant trends over time were found in the proportions of adolescents who reported having had intercourse within the past three months Table 4. For several of these trend comparisons, significant changes that are limited to the YRBS may have been due to larger proportionate changes from to , a period that could not be examined for either the NSFG or the NSAM. Abstract Although three-fifths of adolescent males aged say they have had sexual intercourse, analyses of data from the National Survey of Adolescent Males indicate that their level of sexual activity is relatively moderate. Conclusions Trends over time and gender differences were similar across surveys, underscoring their value for tracking adolescent sexual behaviors. Add Health oversampled only selected subgroups of black teenagers those with higher parental education and certain Hispanic adolescents those identified as Puerto Rican and Cuban , but we did not use these oversamples for our analyses. The authors received considerable help from colleagues who suggested analyses, reviewed results, provided technical details about the surveys and reviewed various versions of the manuscript, including Leighton Ku, Freya Sonenstein, William Mosher, Janet Collins, Laura Kann and Joyce Tabor. The four surveys generally employed multistage, stratified, clustered sampling and oversampled black and Hispanic adolescents; the NSFG, however, oversampled only black adolescents. The mean number of sexual partners in the last year was significantly greater for Blacks 2. How this was manifested in the differences in the estimates is not clear, but the collection of calendar data may encourage more careful reporting because each partner is addressed separately. Indeed the cumulative proportion of Black teenagers who had 1st intercourse continued to be significantly greater than those of White and Hispanic teenagers p. Significant differences in sexual behavior between adolescents who are enrolled in school and those who are dropouts have been documented; 36 similar differences probably exist between those who attend regularly and those who do so sporadically. A similar but nonsignificant trend was found among NSFG females. Measures were calculated separately by race and ethnicity non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic white and Hispanic for cases in which the unweighted number of respondents in a cell exceeded For each survey, the prevalence of sexual intercourse, contraceptive use and multiple sexual partners was measured in this population. Bell TA and Holmes KK, Age-specific risks of syphilis, gonorrhea, and hospitalized pelvic inflammatory disease in sexually experienced U. Further research is also needed on how or whether adolescents understand the use of data and the purpose of surveys; the effect of different response rates on estimates of sensitive behaviors; the effect of context within a questionnaire; adolescents' understanding of concepts such as "sexual intercourse" and "sexual partners"; the susceptibility of adolescents to reporting errors such as telescoping i. In the NSAM and the NSFG, estimates for recent sexual activity were based on calendar data; in contrast, in the YRBS these data came from one question enumerating number of sexual partners in the past three months and in Add Health they came from one question asking the month and year of last intercourse. An explanatory factor may be the method of data collection, which varied considerably across surveys. Alexander CS et al. While four of the six behaviors could be measured across all four data sources, the surveys used different approaches to eliciting information. Table 1 page summarizes the methodology used in each survey and each survey year. These multiple data sources enable programs to make use of the information on the needs of adolescents according to the groups they target i. The YRBS employed a combination of active and passive parental permission, depending on the usual practices of the sampled school. A self-administered questionnaire lasting minutes covered many of the most sensitive questions, but the data presented here come from responses to the face-to-face interview questions. The NSFG will oversample adolescents, thereby improving its ability to detect smaller changes, particularly within ethnic subgroups. Studies among adults show the same gender differential, 32 but these studies have often interpreted the difference as reflecting reporting biases between men and women.
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