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The relationship between spirituality and sexuality among college-aged adolescents

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Kimberly N Lowe
Abstract:
Adolescent sexuality has been viewed through three main lenses: biology, psychology, and sociology. Spirituality may be another variable in the complex developmental process. This study examined the relationship between spirituality and sexuality among college-aged adolescents by using the Spiritual Well Being Scale (SWBS). Two groups were compared: general population students and students who attend five different campus ministries. Nine hypotheses were tested. Results were consistent and showed a relationship between spirituality and sexuality. Seventy-five percent of all students surveyed thought spirituality and sexuality were related. Ministry students had far fewer sexual partners with the range being between 1 and 4. The general population had between 1 and 10 partners. 40.2% of students indicated they were sexually active. However, of those who were sexually active 10.7% (n=11) were ministry students and 89.3% (n=92) were general population students. Age of first intercourse varied from 1 to 21 years of age. Ministry students' age at first intercourse varied from 14 to 21; for the general population it varied from 11 to 20.

Table of Contents Abstract iii Acknowledgements iv Chapter I - Introduction 1 Adolescent Sexual Behavior 1 Physical Consequences of Adolescent Sexual Behavior 5 Systemic Background of Adolescent Sexual Behavior 6 Rationale for the Study 10 Purpose of the Study 12 Chapter II - Literature Review 15 Biological Processes of Sexual Development 15 Timing of Puberty 15 Stages of Adolescence 16 Psychological Maturation and Sexual Development 21 Adolescence and Depression 22 Depression and Concomitant Variables 23 Gender Differences of Depression Rates 24 Depression and Sexual Behavior 24 Social Systems and Adolescent Sexuality 25 Sex Education 28 Sex Education Differences Between States 29 Abstinence and Sex Education 31 Media 32 Television and Sex 33 The Internet and Sex 33 Spirituality and Adolescent Sexuality 35 History of Religion and Spirituality in Professional Counseling 35 Spirituality and Religion Defined 37 Spirituality and Religion: Universal Themes 38 Stages of Faith 39 College Students and Spirituality 44 Summary 46 Chapter III - Methods and Procedures 47 Definitions of Terms 47 Research Questions 49 Hypotheses 50 Procedures 50 Measures 52 vi

Chapter IV - Results 55 Demographics 55 Hypotheses 55 Summary 58 CHAPTER V - Discussion 61 Hypotheses 61 Literature Overview 62 Current Survey Discussion 64 Limitations of the Study 66 Recommendations for Future Research 69 Conclusion 71 REFERENCES 72 APPENDIX A - Questionnaire 85 APPENDIX B - Spiritual Well-Being Scale 87 APPENDIX C - Focus on the Family Resources on Adolescent Sexuality 88 vn

Chapter I INTRODUCTION Adolescence is a complex developmental stage. Traditional thought placed the developmental stage of adolescences in a category of chaos and mayhem (Newcomb, 1996). However, current research has challenged that assumption and shown that the majority of adolescents traverse this stage free from psychological disturbance (Newcomb; Offer, 1987; Steinberg & Lerner, 2004; Wagner, 1996). Adolescent sexuality has been studied primarily through the medical model lens with an emphasis on disease and pregnancy prevention. Conservative voices view adolescent sexuality as an aberration and something to be contained or prevented (Frost, Jones, Wood, Singh, & Darroch, 2001). Morality is a normative part of the conservative perspective with adolescent sexual behavior seen as wrong. Conversely, the liberal view tends to consider adolescent sexuality as a normal stage in the sexual evolution of human development (Frost et al.). Though less negative in its view of adolescent sexual behavior, the liberal focus remains guided by the desire to prevent unwanted pregnancy and disease. Regardless of the starting point, the three commonly accepted areas as primary to the development of adolescent sexuality are biology, psychology, and sociology. The three traditional subsystems—biology, psychology, and sociology—will be presented in their major contributions in understanding adolescent sexuality. A fourth, spiritual well-being, is the focus of this paper. Adolescent Sexual Behavior Adolescent sexual behavior is an important reflection of the American culture. Not only are the sexual behaviors important to examine, but also the physical and 1

emotional consequences they present. The current research reflects the cultural ambivalence toward adolescent sexuality; some adolescent sexual behaviors are decreasing, while others are increasing (Abama & Sonenstein, 1995). Four measures of sexual behavior are often reported as indicators of adolescent sexual behavior and attitudes: sexually experienced (ever had sexual intercourse), age of first intercourse, current sexual activity (sexual intercourse in the last 3 months), and number of sexual partners (Abama & Sonensein, 1995; Frost et al., 2001). Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) and the National Survey of Adolescent Males for the years of 1988 and 1995, Abama and Sonenstein described the following adolescent sexual behavior: between the years of 1988-1995, the percentage of sexually experienced never-married teens aged 15-19 reduced from 56 to 52% (Abama & Sonenstein). Race is a significant variable in the changes of sexually experienced adolescents. The most significant decrease in sexually experienced youth was among White never- married youth—from 54 to 49% (Abama & Sonenstein, 1995). Black sexually experienced teens remained stable, from 70 to 69%); while Hispanic teens' sexual experience increased from 53 to 57% (Abama & Sonenstein). There are also gender differences in changes among sexually experienced teens. The percentage of sexually experienced females reduced modestly from 51 to 49%; while males reduced significantly from 75 to 68% (Abama & Sonenstein). The percentage age of first intercourse for females increased for each ethnic age group surveyed—13, 15, and 17 respectively (Abama & Sonenstein, 1995). The percentage of females that had intercourse for the first time at age 13 rose from 1 to 3% 2

(Abama & Sonenstein). A more significant increase was found in the 15-year-old category—from 10 to 18% (Abama & Sonenstein). The greatest increase was found among 17-year-old females—from 38 to 47% (Abama & Sonenstein). Age of first intercourse either stayed the same or decreased among males surveyed in each age group—13, 15, and 17 respectively. Thirteen-year-old males' age of first intercourse decreased from 5 to 3%, 15-year-old males stayed the same at 21%, and 17-year-old males decreased from 57 to 53% (Abama & Sonenstein, 1995). Current sexual activity declined for both males and females. In 1988 40% of females ages 15-19 were currently sexually active; whereas, in 1995 it was 37% (Abama & Sonenstein, 1995). During the same time frame, males aged 15-19 saw a 6% decrease from 43 to 37% (Abama & Sonenstein). Racial differences were found in current sexual activity levels. In 1995, 54% of Black, 39% of Hispanic, and 35% of non-Hispanic White teens aged 15-19 were sexually active (Abama & Sonenstein). There was little change found between 1988 and 1995 in the total number of sexual partners of sexually active teens (Abama & Sonenstein, 1995). In 1988, 28.96% of females aged 15-19 who had ever had sexual intercourse reported only one lifetime partner (Abama & Sonenstein). During the same year, 21.18% of females aged 15-19 who had ever had sexual intercourse reported six or more lifetime partners (Abama & Sonenstein). In 1995, 22.06% of females, aged 15-19, who had ever had sexual intercourse reported only one lifetime partner, whereas 16.97% had six or more lifetime partners (Abama & Sonenstein). Males had more lifetime partners than females in each category (Abama & Sonenstein). In 1988, 25.4% of males aged 15-19 who had ever had sexual intercourse 3

reported only one lifetime partner, and 20.76% had six or more lifetime partners (Abama & Sonenstein). In 1995, 21.42% of males aged 15-19 who had ever had sexual intercourse reported only one lifetime partner, and 16.31% of males aged 15-19 who had ever had sexual intercourse reported only one lifetime partner (Abama & Sonenstein). One variable in the reduction of teenagers experiencing sexual intercourse may be the increased acceptance of oral sex and the belief that oral sex is not really sex. "Young adults appear to be turning to oral sex as a way to remain sexually 'pure' . . . Like the former president, many teens and young adults believe oral sex is not really sex" (Anonymous, 2003, p. 14). Data from the 2002 NSFG demonstrated that 78.2% of the 2,497 respondents that had no opposite sex sexual contact listed religion and morals as the reason for the decision (Mosher, Chandra, & Jones, 2005). Twenty-one percent gave religion and morals as the reason for having oral sex but not vaginal intercourse (Mosher et al.). A survey by Northern Kentucky University revealed that 55% of those students who said they kept their sexual abstinence pledges participated in oral sex (Anonymous). An interesting phenomenon that stresses physical intimacy void of emotional intimacy has emerged among college-aged adolescents. "Hookups" are a growing interpersonal behavior among college-aged adolescents (Regan & Dryer, 1999). Hookups are more inclusive than "casual sex." Social scientists define hookups as sexual encounters between brief acquaintances or friends that may or may not include sexual intercourse and may involve any of the following sexual behaviors: kissing and breast fondling, hand-genital contact, oral sex, or anal sex (Paul, McManus, & Hayes, 2000). Hookups have been reported as gaining common acceptance on college campuses with more than 70% of college students engaging in some type of hookup behavior at some 4

point during their college career (Paul et al., 2000; Paul & Hayes, 2002; Regan & Dryer, 1999). College students that have experienced hookup behaviors report an average of 10.8 total experiences with a range of 0-65 per year in college (Paul et al.). Contrary to the traditional sex script that suggests male dominance, both males and females report initiating hookups. Paul and Hayes reported that in one sample 28% of students reported only men initiate hookups, 60% said that both men and women initiate, and 3% said that women are the sole initiators of hookups. The long-term consequences of this behavior are unclear. Social scientists are left wondering how this generation will be able to maintain emotional intimacy with a long-term sexual partner or spouse when they are practicing the opposite. Physical Consequences of Adolescent Sexual Behavior One of the results of adolescent sexual behavior is an epidemic rise in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs; Meeker, 2002). According to Meeker, approximately 25% of sexually active teens is currently infected with an STD. Out of the 15.3 million Americans infected with an STD each year, teenagers will make up 2 to 4 million (Meeker). The most recently published NS FG statistics (Mosher et al., 2005) support Meeker's claim. Out of 6,568 males aged 15-19, 3.2% reported having some type of STD other than HIV. Older males more than doubled that rate; 7.1% of the 8,886 males aged 20-24 surveyed stated they have an STD other than HIV (Mosher et al.). Females show a remarkably higher rate of STDs in both age categories; 10.5% of the 6,169 females aged 15-19 and 13.4% of the 8,888 females aged 20-24 claim to have been infected with an STD other than HIV (Mosher et al.). 5

The American teenage pregnancy rate has fluctuated since the early 1970s (Frost et al., 2001). Between 1990 and 1997, pregnancy rate of teens aged 15-19 (per 1,000 sexually active women) dropped from 99.7 to 83% (Frost et al.). During the same time frame, both the birth and abortion rates dropped; the birthrate dropped 16% and the abortion rate reduced by 27% (Frost et al.). Race and ethnicity are significant variables in the pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates. Hispanic females have the highest birthrate of 97 per 1,000; non-Hispanic White teenagers have the lowest pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates (Frost et al.). Black teen females have the highest pregnancy and abortion rates (Frost et al.). Systemic Background of Adolescent Sexual Behavior Every human body's sexuality has its origin in biology. Hormonal responses spark sexual development. Biologically driven sexual responses have a rich history of research. The biological processes that culminate in puberty are initiated at conception (Dyk, 1993). Rather than the beginning of sexual development, puberty is more appropriately conceptualized as the rapid apex. Two of the most visible physical changes that occur in both sexes are growth spurt and secondary sex characteristics (Dyk). According to Kaiser and Powers (2006), Masters, Johnson, and Kolodny (1986), and Udry (1987), hormones not only play a role in adolescent sexual development, they also help predict sexual behavior. Both boys and girls who undergo late puberty—15 or 16 in males, after 13 in females—have less and later teenage sexual activity, including masturbation and sexual intercourse (Kaiser & Powers; Masters et al.; Udry). Although each human body is comprised of biologically driven sexual responses, psychological development is also central to adolescent sexuality. 6

Adolescence is a time when individuals struggle for self-identity and awareness. Exploration of self is key to the adolescent transition (Erikson, 1968). Adolescents that engage this process are said to experience fluctuations in ego strength, cognitive destructuring, and impaired coping (Erikson; Kidwell, Dunham, Bacho, & Pastorino, 1995). Therefore, adolescent identity exploration is necessarily met with vulnerability. Erikson (1997) described the adolescent stage as identity vs. identity confusion. Fidelity, or the ability to connect with another person faithfully and with personal truth and integrity, is the psychosocial goal of the adolescent stage. According to Erikson (1968), the outcome of the adolescent's struggle for self-identity is paramount to the ability to successfully commit to another person. As adolescents maneuver away from dependence on parents, their peer relationships become increasingly important. The need for freedom and the need to be like their peers creates a necessary tension, adding to the emotional intensity of this developmental task (Erikson, 1987; Masters et al., 1986). College-aged adolescents can be between two Eriksonian psychosexual developmental stages: identity vs. identity confusion and intimacy vs. isolation. Older adolescents and young adults who have successfully traversed identity vs. identity confusion can begin to move toward true intimacy with another and eventually generativity. Erikson (1997) stated, Young adults emerging from the adolescent search for a sense of identity can be eager and willing to fuse their identities in mutual intimacy and to share them with individuals who, in work, sexuality, and friendship promise to prove complementary, (p. 70) This task is a delicate balance between isolation and intimacy. Erikson's theory remains foundational in the study of human development (Kidwell et al., 1995; Marcia, 2002). However, feminist theorists have criticized 7

Erikson's theory as being male-centered (Gilligan, 1982; Gilligan & Machoian, 2002). Specifically, female development is considered in light of and in response to male development rather than as its own unique structure (Gilligan). Marcia (2002) elaborated on the identity stage of Erikson's theory: "The process by which identity is formed consists of decision making and commitment, a process that, at best, is preceded by a period of exploring alternatives" (p. 202). There are four "identity statuses" according to Marcia: identity achievement, moratorium, foreclosure, and identity diffusion. Most adolescents begin their identity formation in the status of foreclosure, the unquestioning acceptance of parental and authority figures' plans and values (Marcia). Although some adolescents never leave the foreclosure status, many will be ushered into a moratorium period as their values, ideas, and future plans are challenged (Marcia). A status full of conflict, the moratorium phase is when the adolescent is pulled between the child she once was and the adult she has yet to become (Marcia). Ideally, the exploration period ends successfully in identity achievement and the adolescent is now able to make commitments based on a new set of values and plans that she has adopted (Marcia). Unfortunately, some adolescents do not successfully traverse the foreclosure and moratorium. As a result of either entering into adolescence in a status of diffusion or due to the inherent struggles and unsettling processes of the adolescent developmental stage, some adolescents become diffused (Marcia). The hallmark of an individual with identity diffusion is an inability or unwillingness to make commitments (Marcia). Beyond biological and psychological processes, adolescent sexual development is also connected to social systems. 8

Adolescents develop within multiple social systems: family, socioeconomic, peer group, education, and the many forms of media. The family is the primary system of influence and is where the adolescent develops physically, emotionally, and sexually (Miller, 2002). Both family structure and process are associated with adolescent sexual behavior. Sexual debut has been shown to occur later in intact, two-parent families than single-parent households (Baumer & South, 2001; Lauritsen, 1994; Meschke & Silbereisen, 1997; Miller, 2002; White & DeBlassie, 1992). Further, Rodgers (1999) found that parental processes are related to high-risk behavior in sexually active adolescents. Sexual attitudes of parents also play a part in adolescent sexual development. In a survey of 18-year-olds in 1980, Thornton and Camburn (1989) found that the premarital sexual attitudes of mothers affect both the attitudes and behavior of their children. Socioeconomics is another social system associated with adolescent sexual behavior. The frequency of sexual intercourse, the number of sexual partners, and unprotected sexual intercourse all increase with the level of socioeconomic disadvantage of their current or recent community residence (Baumer & South, 2001). Peers become increasingly more powerful as a child moves into adolescence (Erickson, 1997; Meeker, 2002). Research demonstrates that adolescent sexual behavior is related to what peers do, how they think and how the adolescent perceives them to be (Baumer & South, 2001; Perkins, Luster, Villarruel, & Small, 1998; Whitbeck, Yoder, Hoyt, & Conger, 1999). Large social systems such as the media and public education are also influential in the development of adolescent sexuality. 9

In this consumer society, American youth are bombarded with sexual images in every communication medium: television, magazines, billboards, and the Internet. American youth spend approximately 6-7 hours per day with some form of media influence (Brown & Keller, 2002). Frost et al. (2001) reported that the sexual content ranging from talking about sex to depictions of sexual intercourse rose from 43% in 1976 to 65% in 1986 and 75% in 1996 during television's "family hour." Although there is little dispute that sexual content is steadily increasing, controversy exists in the measurable effects of adolescents viewing such programs. Last, adolescent sexual development is directly impacted by the type and amount of sexual education received. Although there is not a federal mandate for sex education in public schools, between 1988-1995 sex education became nearly universal in the public education arena (Lindberg, Ku, & Sonenstein, 2000; Wilson, 2000). However, there are striking differences in the content and delivery of sex education between states. These differences are fully explored in the review of literature. Rationale for the Study The U.S. Surgeon General (Satcher, 2001), The World Health Organization (WHO), and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States recommend a definition of healthy adult sexuality that includes physical, emotional, mental, and social components. However, it omits spirituality as a component of healthy sexuality. These major institutions agree that sexual health requires a respectful approach to relationships free from coercion. Sexually healthy adults should have a positive view of their bodies and should be able to communicate openly and honestly with their sexual partners. They should have relatively low anxiety in the context of sexual relationships 10

and have a strong sense of their own sexual values. Last, sexually healthy adults should be able to form interdependent and rewarding relationships (Satcher). A primary goal of adolescence, then, is to move through this transitory life stage toward healthy, stable adulthood that includes responsible, positive sexual behaviors. Adolescent sexual behavior has been studied from the perspective of three primary systems: biology, psychology, and sociology. Religion has also consistently shown to affect sexual beliefs and behavior. Specifically, global definitions of religiousness such as church attendance, conservatism, self-rated level, and importance of religion and religious affirmation are related to sexual behavior and attitudes (Koenig, McCullough, & Larson, 2001; Mahoney, 1980; Murray-Swank, Pargament, & Mahoney, 2005). Across cultural diversity, increased levels of self-reported religiosity and devoutness are related to higher rates of premarital abstinence, less frequent intercourse and fewer lifetime sexual partners (Murray-Swank et al.; Nicholas & Durrheim, 1995; Thornton & Camburn, 1989). Data from the 2002 NSFG demonstrated that 78.2% of the 2,497 respondents that had no opposite sex sexual contact listed religion and morals as the reason for the decision (Mosher et al., 2005). Twenty-one percent gave religion and morals as the reason for having oral sex but not vaginal intercourse (Mosher et al.). However, the relationship between the broader construct of spirituality and adolescent sexual behavior remains primarily unexamined. Only one study was found that explored the relationship between an aspect of spirituality, sanctification, and sexuality of college students. According to Murray-Swank et al. (2005), in the theory of sanctification "all aspects of life, including sexuality, can be imbued with sacred meaning and spiritual significance" (p. 200). Several measures were 11

used to define the sanctification of sex. Murray-Swank et al. modified two scales to measure both nontheistic and theistic attitudes of premarital sexual intercourse for "two people in a loving relationship who are not married" (p. 204). Participants also completed an 8-item Manifestation of God in Sexual Intercourse scale and a 10-item Sacred Qualities of Sexual Intercourse Scale (Murray-Swank et al.). The results show that among college students from a Midwestern university, greater levels of sanctification were related to increased sexual satisfaction. Further, an increased belief in the sanctification of sexual intercourse was related to increased sexual behavior. Last, sanctification of sexual intercourse established incremental validity in the prediction of sexual behavior and satisfaction beyond the effects of attitudes toward premarital sex, dating status, and general religiousness (Murray-Swank et al.). Spirituality transcends religion. It includes one's perceptive relationship with God as well as feelings about life in general. David Hindman (2002) suggested four questions that help bring to light college students' "personal spirituality": "Who are you? Who do you want to be? What do you do? What are your deepest hungers?" (p. 165). Spirituality is more inclusive than religion and, therefore, opens the door to a wider understanding of existential faith and sexual choices. One may be highly religiously orthodox yet have a poor view of God, of one's relationship with him and negative feelings about the future. Conversely, one may not hold traditional views of God yet feel very positively about relating to a higher power and have a positive view of the future. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between spirituality and the sexual attitudes and behavior of college-aged adolescents. The Spiritual-Well Being 12

Scale (SWBS; Paloutzian & Ellison, 1991) is used to quantify spirituality. The SWBS provides a general measure of spiritual quality of life and subscales of religious and existential well being. The SWBS consists of 20 items that are scored by the Likert scale method. Genia (2001) evaluated the SWBS with a sample of college students. Results supported the factorial validity of the SWBS, and internal consistency was found in the SWB scales across four religious affiliations (Genia). Further, the subscales were found to measure unique constructs, as intended. This study adds significantly to the body of research by providing data on a variable, spiritual well-being that has not yet been studied in its relationship to adolescent sexuality. The following nine questions guide this study: Ql: Is there a relationship between spirituality and sexuality in college-aged adolescents? Q2: Do ministry students have fewer sexual partners in the last 12 months than general population students? Q3: Do ministry students participate in less sexual activity than general population students? Q4: Is age of first intercourse different for campus ministry and general population students? Q5: Are scores on the SWB Scale correlated with level of sexual activity for both ministry and general population students? Q6: Are fewer sexual partners in the last 12 months correlated with higher scores on the SWB Scale? Q7: Will ministry students score higher than general population students on the SWB Scale? Q8: Will ministry students score higher than general population students on the RWB Scale? Q9: Will ministry students score higher than general population students on the EWB Scale? Nine main hypotheses are expected based on prior research. First, it is expected that among college students a correlation between spirituality and sexual behavior will be found. Second, a relationship between sexual behavior and spiritual attitudes will not be 13

found among general population college students. Third, due to the saliency of spirituality in their lives, ministry students are expected to score higher on the Spiritual Well-Being Scale. Fourth, ministry students are expected to have overall lower levels of sexual behavior than students in the general population. The next section provides an exhaustive review of the literature on adolescent sexual development. Three primary variables are examined in their relation to the developmental process of adolescent sexual development: biology, psychology, and sociology. 14

Chapter II LITERATURE REVIEW A thorough review of the literature on sexuality and spirituality is presented in the following chapter. The three primary constructs of sexual development are biology, psychology and sociology. Biological Processes of Sexual Development The biological processes that culminate in puberty are initiated at conception (Dyk, 1993). There are a plethora of complex biological and hormonal processes relating to puberty and adolescence that could be discussed. However, this paper will include only the most salient features. Rather than the beginning of sexual development, puberty is more appropriately conceptualized as the rapid apex (Herdt & McClintock, 2000; Offer & Boxer, 1991; Ponton & Judice, 2004; Sharpe, 2003). Over the last 100 years, the time of menarche has steadily decreased 3 to 4 months per decade in Europe (Offer & Boxer). The time of physical maturity has progressively declined to the average age of 11 Vi years (Sharpe). The rate of growth and degree of developmental changes during puberty are second only to those that occur during infancy (Offer & Boxer). Timing of Puberty Literature suggests there is strong evidence that early pubertal maturation in females is associated with many negative outcomes such as low self-esteem, eating disorders, poor body image, depression, early onset of dating and sexual behaviors, and affiliation with older and delinquent peers (Caspi, Lynam, Moffitt, & Silva, 1993; Crockett & Petersen, 1987; Flannery, Rowe, & Gulley, 1993; Graber, Petersen & Brooks- 15

Gunn, 1996; Siegel, Aneshesel, Taub, Cantwell, & Driscoll, 1998; Simmons & Blythe, 1987). Psychological disturbance is more closely related to noticeable pubertal changes such as breast development than nonpublic changes (Galambos, Leadbetter, & Barker, 2004; Petersen & Crocett, 1985).The effect of pubertal timing on males is not as clear, in part due to the smaller amount of research on male pubertal development (Nadeem & Graham, 2005). Some studies report that early pubertal development has shown positive results for males (Brack, Orr, & Ingersoll, 1988; Nadeem & Graham). Early maturing males are taller, stronger, and larger than their counterparts, which can improve their body image and sense of self-worth (Brack et al.; Nadeem & Graham). Conversely, early maturing males may also be at higher risk for negative behaviors such as delinquency and early sexual and dating experience (Flannery et al., 1993; Graber et al., 1996; Williams & Dunlop, 1999). Later-maturing males have demonstrated an increased risk for depression, peer victimization, and internalizing symptoms (Nadeem & Graham). They feel inadequate, less satisfied with their bodies, and report lower self-esteem than either on- time or early maturing males (Alasker, 1992; Kracke, 1993; Weisner & Ittel, 2002.). From a biological position, adolescence can be defined as the transitional period between puberty and adulthood ranging from approximate ages 10-24 (Ponton & Judice, 2004; Sharpe, 2003). This can be broken down into four subcategories: preadolescence, early adolescence, middle adolescence, and late adolescence. Stages of Adolescence Preadolescence normally occurs prior to the age of 10 (Herdt & McClintock, 2000; Ponton & Judice, 2004; Sharpe, 2003). Herdt and McClintock argued that puberty contains two distinct biological processes: adrenal and gonadal. Adrenal puberty 16

Full document contains 95 pages
Abstract: Adolescent sexuality has been viewed through three main lenses: biology, psychology, and sociology. Spirituality may be another variable in the complex developmental process. This study examined the relationship between spirituality and sexuality among college-aged adolescents by using the Spiritual Well Being Scale (SWBS). Two groups were compared: general population students and students who attend five different campus ministries. Nine hypotheses were tested. Results were consistent and showed a relationship between spirituality and sexuality. Seventy-five percent of all students surveyed thought spirituality and sexuality were related. Ministry students had far fewer sexual partners with the range being between 1 and 4. The general population had between 1 and 10 partners. 40.2% of students indicated they were sexually active. However, of those who were sexually active 10.7% (n=11) were ministry students and 89.3% (n=92) were general population students. Age of first intercourse varied from 1 to 21 years of age. Ministry students' age at first intercourse varied from 14 to 21; for the general population it varied from 11 to 20.