Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2002, 34(3):118-126 As youth move from elementary school to junior high to high school, their physiological development takes place in tandem with changes in their relationships and social networks.During this period, friendship patterns become more heterogeneous, and relationships shift in nature and intensity.A unique aspect of the NLSY data is that the relationship information is collected on an ongoing basis and may therefore be less subject to recall error or intentional misreporting.
In part, this assumption is made because relatively few adolescents report ever having had sex before they ever dated.
While the assumption may be true, the conclusion is drawn from information on dating and sexual activity reported retrospectively by youth at a single survey point.
By the late 1990s, approximately 85% of eligible respondents were participating in the survey, including oversamples of black men and women.
Our sample included 1,678 children of female NLSY respondents who were 11-12 years old in 1990, 1992 or 1994.
CONCLUSIONS: Prior social networking is an important element in predicting early sexual activity.