Premarital Sexual Permissiveness Among Taiwanese Youth

  • Chi Chiao
  • Chin-Chun YiEmail author
Part of the Quality of Life in Asia book series (QLAS, volume 2)


Using the 2004 and 2007 Taiwan Youth Project Survey, we investigate the association between individual, peer, and family factors and premarital sexual attitudes among youth. Specifically, two outcomes were focused on: (1) the identification of patterns of premarital sexual permissiveness (PSP) and (2) an exploration of the permissive attitude toward coitus when there is strong affection. In this descriptive analysis, it was found that males are more permissive than females and best friends’ sexual behavior has a presumed influence on PSP for both sexes. In terms of family characteristics, a permissive attitude was greater among those with biological parents who had ever divorced and when there was reported weak parental control (guanor chiao shun). Our findings suggest that family factors have an important role in determining PSP in a typical East Asian society such as Taiwan. These results suggest that program strategies aimed at promoting sexual health among young people should be gender and family specific.


Sexual Attitude School Attendance Sexual Relation Female Youth Monthly Family Income 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank the editor and reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions. This research uses data from the Taiwan Youth Project, 2004 and 2007 waves, funded by the National Science Council in Taiwan (96-2412-H-001-017 and 97-2410-H-001-043-MY3) to Dr. Chin-Chun Yi. Support from National Science Council in Taiwan (100-2410-H-010-007) to Dr. Chi Chiao is also gratefully acknowledged.


  1. Bernhardt, E. (1993). Fertility and employment. European Sociological Review, 9, 25–42.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, S. V. (1985). Premarital sexual permissiveness among Black adolescent females. Social Psychology Quarterly, 48(4), 381–837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, B. B. (1999). “You’re going out with who?” Peer group influences on adolescent romantic relationships. In W. Furman, B. B. Brown, & C. Feiring (Eds.), The development of romantic relationships in adolescence(pp. 291–329). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Cernada, G. P., Chang, M. C., Lin, H. S., Sun, T. H., & Cernada, C. C. (1986). Implications for adolescent sex education in Taiwan. Studies in Family Planning, 17(4), 181–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chang, J. S. (1996). What do education and work mean? Education, nonfamilial work/living experiences and premarital sex for women in Taiwan. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 27, 13–40.Google Scholar
  6. Chang, J. S., Trang, A. K. T., Lin, R. H., & Lui, P. K. (1997). Premarital sexual mores in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 32, 265–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chao, R. K. (1994). Beyond parental control and authoritarian parenting style: Understanding Chinese parenting through the cultural notion of training. Child Development, 65, 1111–1119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chiao, C., & Yi, C. C. (2011). Adolescent premarital sex and health outcomes among Taiwanese youth: Perception of best friends’ sexual behavior and the contextual effect. AIDS Care, 23(9), 1083–1092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Christopher, F. S. (2001). To dance the dance: A symbolic interactional exploration of premarital sexuality. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  10. Collins, W. A. (2003). More than myth: The developmental significance of romantic relationships during adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13(1), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Collins, W. A., & Van Dulmen, M. (2006). Friendships and romance in emerging adulthood: Assessing distinctiveness in close relationships. In J. J. Arnett & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Emerging adults in America: Coming of age in the 21st century(pp. 219–234). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crawford, M., & Popp, D. (2003). Sexual double standards: A review and methodological critique of two decades of research. Journal of Sex Research, 40(1), 13–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Furman, W., Brown, B. B., & Feiring, C. (Eds.). (1999). The development of romantic relationships in adolescence. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gorman, J. C. (1998). Parenting attitudes and practices of immigrant Chinese mothers of adolescents. Family Relations, 47(1), 73–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heltsley, M. E., & Broderick, C. B. (1969). Religiosity and premarital sexual permissiveness: Reexamination of Reiss’s traditionalism proposition. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 31(3), 441–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hendrick, S., Hendrick, C., Slapion-Foote, M. J., & Foote, F. H. (1985). Gender differences in sexual attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 1630–1642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kahn, J. A., Rosenthal, S. L., Succop, P. A., Ho, G. Y. F., & Burk, R. D. (2002). Mediators of the association between age of first sexual intercourse and subsequent human papillomavirus infection. Pediatrics, 109, e5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Krieger, N. (2000). Discrimination and health. In L. Berkman & I. Kawachi (Eds.), Social epidemiology(pp. 36–75). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Kuo, C. P., Lee, S. H., Wu, W. Y., Liao, W. C., Lin, S. J., & Lee, M. C. (2010). Birth outcomes and risk factors in adolescent pregnancies: Results of a Taiwanese national survey. Pediatrics International, 52(3), 447–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Liao, P. S., & Tu, S. H. (2006). Examining the scalability of intimacy permissiveness scale in Taiwan. Social Indicators Research, 76, 207–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Libby, R. W., Gray, L., et al. (1978). A test and reformulation of reference group and role correlates of premarital sexual permissiveness theory. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 40(1), 79–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lieber, E., Yang, K. S., & Lin, Y. C. (2000). An external orientation to the study of causal beliefs: Applications to Chinese populations and comparative research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 31(2), 160–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Oliver, M. B., & Sedikides, C. (1992). Effects of sexual permissiveness on desirability of partner as a function of low and high commitment to relationship. Social Psychology Quarterly, 55(3), 321–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Paranjothy, S., Broughton, H., Adappa, R., & Fong, D. (2009). Teenage pregnancy: Who suffers? Archives of Disease in Childhood, 94, 239–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Reiss, I. L. (1964). The scaling of premarital sexual permissiveness. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 26(2), 188–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Reiss, I. L. (1967). The social context of premarital sexual permissiveness. New York: Holt, Rinehard and Winston.Google Scholar
  27. Scholl, T. O., Hediger, M. L., & Belsky, D. H. (1994). Prenatal care and maternal health during adolescent pregnancy: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Adolescent Health, 15, 444–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Smith, D. J. (2004). Premarital sex, procreation, and HIV risk in Nigeria. Studies in Family Planning, 35(4), 223–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sprecher, S. (1989). Premarital sexual standards for different categories of individuals. Journal of Sex Research, 26, 232–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sprecher, S., & Hatfield, E. (1996). Premarital sexual standards among US college students: Comparison with Russian and Japanese students. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 25, 261–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sprecher, S., McKinney, K., Walsh, R., & Anderson, C. (1988). A revision of the Reiss premarital sexual permissiveness scale. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50(3), 821–828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stata Corporation. (2006). Stata statistical software: Release 9.0. College Station: Stata Corporation.Google Scholar
  33. Treas, J. (2002). How cohorts, education, and ideology shaped a new sexual revolution on American attitudes toward nonmarital sex, 1972–1998. Sociological Perspectives, 45(3), 267–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Weinstock, H., Berman, S., & Cates, W., Jr. (2004). Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: Incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 36, 6–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yang, K. S. (2006). Indigenous personality research: The Chinese case. In U. Kim, K. S. Yang, & K. K. Hwang (Eds.), Indigenous and cultural psychology: Understanding people in context(pp. 285–314). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  36. Yi, C. C., Chang, Y. H., & Wu, C. I. (2005, July 21–22). Taiwan youth project: Research process, challenges and selective findings. Invited talk at the International conference on panel studies, Organized by PAIRFAM (Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics), Mannheim, Germany.Google Scholar
  37. Zabin, L. S., Emerson, M. R., et al. (2009). Levels of change in adolescent sexual behavior in three Asian cities. Studies in Family Planning, 40(1), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Health and Welfare PolicyNational Yang-Ming UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Institute of SociologyAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan

Personalised recommendations