Journal Article

The influence of parents’ marital relationship and women’s status on children’s age at first sex in Cebu, Philippines

This study examines the intergenerational effects of parents’ marital relationship and the status of women on children’s age at first sexual intercourse in Cebu, Philippines. Matched longitudinal data for 1,661 mothers and their children are analyzed. The mothers were interviewed in 1994, when their children were aged 9 to 11, about sociodemographic characteristics, their marital relationships, and women’s status. Cox proportional hazards models are used to assess unmarried children’s age at first sex as reported by the children in 2005 at ages 20 to 22. After multivariate adjustment, the analysis indicates that when parents make household decisions jointly, sons report delaying first sex. In households in which mothers have higher status, daughters report delayed first sex. The results demonstrate that long-term positive effects on children, particularly delaying first sex, occur in families in which parental decisionmaking is cooperative and in which women have high status.