Predictors of secondary abstinence in U.S. college undergraduates. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study examined (1) the percentage of participants who practiced secondary sexual abstinence and (2) factors associated with its practice among a sample of U.S. college students. College undergraduate men and women (n = 1,133) in Texas completed a web-based survey assessing abstinence status and predictors of abstinent behavior. Results revealed that 12.5% of participants practiced secondary abstinence. Of eight variables, five significantly predicted secondary abstinence (following sexual initiation). Predictors were positive attitude toward abstinence, subjective norm supporting abstinence, greater religious ties, and previous negative sexual experiences. The fifth variable, participation in abstinence education, however, was associated with a significantly reduced likelihood of secondary abstinence. Fewer perceived barriers, less environmental manipulation (efforts to make physical and social environments supportive of abstinence), and greater religious ties significantly predicted self-efficacy for secondary abstinence. Findings provide an estimate of the percentage of participants who practiced secondary abstinence and suggest focal points for future research.

published proceedings

  • Arch Sex Behav

altmetric score

  • 12.272

author list (cited authors)

  • Rasberry, C. N., & Goodson, P.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Rasberry, Catherine N||Goodson, Patricia

publication date

  • February 2009