Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Kristin L Moilanen

Committee Co-Chair

Lesley Cottrell

Committee Member

Jessica Troilo


Adolescents and young adults account for a significantly high proportion of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection cases in the United States. According to Jessor's Problem Behavior Theory, combined protective factors, such as exposure to positive parenting and peer behaviors, create an environment that is supportive of conventional behaviors and discouraging of problem behaviors. There is an extensive amount of literature on parent and peer influences on adolescent sexual behavior but few studies address the interactive influence of both parent and peer behaviors on adolescent sexual risk-taking. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal supportiveness and strictness on adolescent sexual risk-taking, as well as the moderating influence of peer involvement in positive or negative activities. A sample of 14-16 year old adolescents was drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1997 (NLSY-97; N = 4,008, 50.5% male, 59.4% White, 26.5% Black, and 13.3% other). Higher levels of maternal supportiveness, maternal strictness, and positive peer behaviors were each associated with lower levels of sexual risk-taking two years later. High levels of negative peer behaviors were related to high sexual-risk taking two years later. No interaction terms were significant. Important implications for positive peer relationships were also found. Future research should focus on the comparison of parental warmth and control variables as moderators for the relationship between peer influence and adolescent sexual risk-taking.