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Effects of Divorce on Children's Sexual Activity

Sexual Intercourse Partners for Girls by Family Structure
When parents divorce, their children’s attitudes about sexual behavior change. Children’s approval of premarital sex, cohabitation, and divorce rises dramatically, while their endorsement of marriage and childbearing falls. Children from divorced families are also more likely to believe that marriage is not important prior to having children and are more likely to have a child out of wedlock. This holds true even after controlling for socioeconomic status. Furthermore, sexual permissiveness on the part of divorced parents significantly increases permissive attitudes and behavior in both their sons and daughters.

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Editor: Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D.
Managing Editor: Christina Hadford