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Life history factors, personality and the social clustering of sexual experience in adolescents

van Leeuwen, AJ; Mace, R; (2016) Life history factors, personality and the social clustering of sexual experience in adolescents. Royal Society Open Science , 3 (10) , Article 160257. 10.1098/rsos.160257. Green open access

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Abstract

Adolescent sexual behaviour may show clustering in neighbourhoods, schools and friendship networks. This study aims to assess how experience with sexual intercourse clusters across the social world of adolescents and whether predictors implicated by life history theory or personality traits can account for its between-individual variation and social patterning. Using data on 2877 adolescents from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, we ran logistic multiple classification models to assess the clustering of sexual experience by approximately 17.5 years in schools, neighbourhoods and friendship networks. We examined how much clustering at particular levels could be accounted for by life history predictors and Big Five personality factors. Sexual experience exhibited substantial clustering in friendship networks, while clustering at the level of schools and neighbourhoods was minimal, suggesting a limited role for socio-ecological influences at those levels. While life history predictors did account for some variation in sexual experience, they did not explain clustering in friendship networks. Personality, especially extraversion, explained about a quarter of friends' similarity. After accounting for life history factors and personality, substantial unexplained similarity among friends remained, which may reflect a tendency to associate with similar individuals or the social transmission of behavioural norms.

Type: Article
Title: Life history factors, personality and the social clustering of sexual experience in adolescents
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160257
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160257
Language: English
Additional information: Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, adolescent sexual behaviour, life history theory, personality, social clustering, multiple classification models, Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), 5 FACTOR MODEL, FATHER ABSENCE, REPRODUCTIVE STRATEGY, SOCIOECONOMIC-STATUS, PUBERTAL DEVELOPMENT, FAMILY-STRUCTURE, 5-FACTOR MODEL, PARENTAL CARE, RISK-TAKING, DYING YOUNG
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1523263
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