Gender and the Nexus of Parental and Community Control: Contextual Effects on the Timing of First Intercourse

Christopher Browning, Ohio State University
Tama Leventhal, Columbia University

We integrate insights from social capital and collective efficacy theory with emerging research on the intersection of parental supervision, child gender, and neighborhood to develop a contextual model of the timing of first intercourse during early adolescence. We hypothesize that the effects of family and neighborhood controls on the timing of first intercourse will exhibit opposing patterns by gender. Family controls are likely to be more consequential for girls while neighborhood controls will target the more visible behavior of boys. Findings from multilevel discrete-time models of the timing of first intercourse indicate that family supervision exerts significantly greater influence on the timing of first intercourse for girls than boys. Neighborhood supervision capacity--captured by the concept of collective efficacy--delays sexual onset for boys. For girls, the effect of collective efficacy is conditional, emerging only for those who experience lower levels of parental supervision.

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Presented in Session 95: Community and Neighborhood Influences on Children and Youth