- On early starters and late bloomers: the development of sexual behavior in adolescence across personality types
- The Journal of Sex Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 51 | 7
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
Little is known about the relationship between personality and sexual development among mid-adolescents. In the current study, we used a person-centered approach to investigate the relation between personality types and the development of sexual behavior. We hypothesized that undercontrolling adolescents would engage in more advanced, casual, and risky sexual behavior compared to their resilient and overcontrolling peers. Data were used from 407 mid-adolescents (M age = 14.5) followed across four measurement waves spanning 18 months. Results from latent class analyses (LCA) identified the three classical personality types: resilients, undercontrollers, and overcontrollers. Controlling for perceived pubertal timing and biological sex, latent growth curve analyses in Mplus showed that, at baseline, undercontrollers were more sexually experienced and engaged in more casual and risky sexual behavior than resilients and overcontrollers. Although initial levels of sexual behavior differed by personality types, over time increases in sexual behavior occurred at a similar rate across the types. Overall, the current study showed that undercontrolling adolescents are early sexual developers who engage in more advanced, casual, and risky sexual behavior than other adolescents. The implications of these findings for longer-term differences in sexual behavior between personality types in later adolescence are discussed.
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