Purpose: The role of closeness of sexual partners to family and friends (i.e., how well the participant's family and friends knew their primary sexual partner) to a variety of relationship and sexual behavior measures was explored. Methods: A sample of 151 adolescent females (aged 14-17 years) was assessed. Areas assessed include family and friend closeness, relationship intimacy, length of sexual relationship, and condom use. Results: Bivariate correlations indicated that the integration of the sexual partner into the family and friend networks was related to greater relationship intimacy. Lowered condom use was related to a number of measures, including increased relationship intimacy and increased family closeness. A path analysis was conducted to assess for direct and indirect effects of family closeness, friend closeness, relationship length, and relationship intimacy on condom use. Social network closeness in family and friend networks was implicated in lowered condom use through higher relationship intimacy within adolescent dyads. Conclusions: Social network theory is useful in understanding adolescent health-related behavior. In particular, the integration of adolescent sexual partners into both family and friend networks is related to the expression of adolescent sexual behavior.
- Relationship intimacy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health