Adolescent Sexual Guilt and the Development of Self-Esteem During the Transition to Adulthood: The Moderating Effect of Race
Early adolescent sexual experiences have been found to be associated with lower levels of well-being; however, this relationship has been found to be better explained through the adolescent’s perception of their sexual behavior. The present study explored the implications of adolescent sexual guilt on the development of self-esteem across emerging adulthood. Using secondary data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health the present study found that self-esteem developed in quadratic fashion from adolescence to adulthood. Sexual guilt was associated with lower levels in self-esteem at each of the four time-points from adolescence to adulthood for both people of color and white individuals. The association between sexual guilt and the change in self-esteem was only significant for people of color. The study illustrates the importance of sex-positive conversations around sexual behavior and safety to reduce the development of guilt and the lasting influence guilt has on development. Additionally, this study illustrates unique risks which people of color experience.
KeywordsAdolescence Adulthood Life-span Race Self-esteem Sexual guilt
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Barrett Scroggs, Ryan Madrigal and Nathaniel Faflick declare no conflict of interest.
This study utilizes secondary data. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
This study utilizes secondary data. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study during the original data collection.
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