- Observed normativity and deviance in friendship dyads’ conversations about sex and the relations with youths’ perceived sexual peer norms
- Archives of Sexual Behavior
- Volume | Issue number
- 46 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
The current study examined the relations between observed normativity and deviance during adolescents’ and young adults’ conversations about sex with their friends and their individual perceptions of sexual peer norms. Participants were 16-21-year-old same-sex friendship dyads (31 male and 30 female dyads) who performed a peer interaction task that consisted of five discussion assignments focusing on party planning, sexual double standards, condom use, homosexuality, and consensual sex. Videotaped discussions were coded to capture the amounts of normative talk (e.g., consistent with notions of healthy sexuality) and deviant talk (e.g., consistent with notions of risky sexuality), and the verbal or nonverbal reinforcement thereof. Participants also completed individual questionnaires to assess their perceived sexual descriptive norms, injunctive norms, pressure, and risk norms among their peers. Actor-partner interdependence model (APIM) results revealed that youths’ perceived descriptive, injunctive, and risk norms, but not their experienced peer pressure, were related to both their own (actor effects) and their friends’ (partner effects) normativity and deviance. Overall, more deviance was related to perceiving friends to be more sexually active, more approving of having sex, and engaging in more risky sex, whereas more normativity was related to these perceptions in the opposite direction. Gender differences in the APIMs indicated that interactive normativity and deviance was related to perceived descriptive, injunctive, and risk norms for boys, but only to perceived injunctive norms for girls. These findings demonstrate the importance of assessing the dyadic nature of youths’ sexual communication with friends, their relation to individual sexual peer norm perceptions, and gender differences therein.
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