Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Social Work


Sociology, General.




Adolescence is a period of development that is characterized by numerous biological, cognitive, and psychosocial changes. Throughout adolescence, individuals gradually abandon their identity as "children" and progressively begin to assume adult demeanor and conduct. In assuming adult roles, adolescents participate in behavior traditionally reserved for adults. This behaviour includes use of substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, formation of intimate relationships, and engagement in sexual intercourse. The present investigation conceptualizes adolescent sexual activity as a learned behavior and uses indicators of learning through direct experience and observation from social learning theory to create a model for explaining sexual activity among Canadian youth. This study found that indicators of direct experience and observation contributed to predicting engagement in sexual intercourse; however, there were some differences between 12--15 year olds and 16--17 year olds, as well as some differences based on gender. Concerning the hypothesis that sexual activity, as an adult role that adolescents assume, is cumulative and progressive in nature, result indicated that on average, sexual intercourse at 16--17 years of age (Cycle 4) can be predicted by experience with a boy/girlfriend at 14--15 years of age (Cycle 3) and level of sexual experience at 12--13 years of age (Cycle 2). (Abstract shortened by UMI.)Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2005 .G556. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 44-01, page: 0180. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2005.