Although researchers have begun to estimate the contribution of other social factors such as income or family structure to reported differences among ethnic/racial groups in sexual behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy, a focus on between-group differences within racial/ethnic groups is also necessary to understand these differences in behaviors, according to background information in the article. The current study focuses on the variability within Hispanic adolescents in the onset of sexual intercourse.
Mary B. Adam, M.D., M.A., of the University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., and colleagues used preprogram survey data from 7,270 Hispanic or white teens in seventh to 12th grade involved in the Arizona Abstinence-Only Education Program to predict the probability of onset of sexual intercourse based on age, gender, family structure, program location, religiosity, free school lunch, grades, rural residence, acculturation, and ethnicity. Specific attention was given to the influence of their integration into U.S. culture among Hispanic teens. The primary language spoken by the respondents (English, Spanish, or both) was used as a proxy (substitute) measure for their integration into U.S. culture.
"Although Spanish-speaking Hispanic youth differ from English-speaking Hispanic youth on most of the variables in our modelthe multivariate analysis allows us to consider the effect of the ethnicity and language beyond the impact of those other predictors," the authors state. "We find that acculturation has a unique contribution to th
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