Developing adolescent sexuality in context: Relations with parents and peers

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisExternal


In this dissertation it was investigated how various aspects of adolescents’ developing sexuality (behaviors, cognitions, emotions) are intertwined over time with adolescents’ relations with parents and peers. The aim of the six empirical studies, which utilized a multi-method approach (longitudinal questionnaires, observations, and meta-analytic data), was to examine sexual development during adolescence with: 1.) a broad conceptualization of sexuality, 2.) specific attention for socio-contextual factors (parents and peers), and 3.) a longitudinal research design. The results showed that general and sexuality-specific parenting were related to adolescents' developing sexuality in different ways. Besides frequent interactions with peers, adolescents’ perceptions of their peers’ sexual behaviors, attitudes, and pressure to have sex were associated with their own sexual intentions and behaviors. These perceptions of sexual peer norms were, in turn, related to the way in which adolescents discussed sexuality with their friends. Communication about sex with parents, however, buffered the effects of these perceived sexual peer norms. The findings of this dissertation contribute to the existing knowledge about how normative, risky, and positive adolescent sexuality develops in the context of relations with parents and peers. The results also contain relevant implications for education strategies that aim to promote healthy and positive sexual development during adolescence, and indicate several ways in which parents can contribute to this.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Dekovi?, Supervisor
  • Reitz, Supervisor
Award date17 Apr 2015
Place of PublicationRidderprint
Print ISBNs9789462990517
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Developing adolescent sexuality in context: Relations with parents and peers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this