Click Here to download “Frequency of a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) by Family Structure and Religious Practice”

Frequency of a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) by Family Structure and Religious Practice

Adults aged 18 to 59 in intact marriages and adults who worshipped weekly were least likely to have ever had a sexually transmitted disease, according to the National Health and Social Life Survey (1992), the most detailed analysis of sexual behavior in America. [1]

Family Structure: Those in always-intact marriages were least likely to have ever had a sexually transmitted disease (1.3 percent). Sexually transmitted disease was more prevalent in non-intact family structures and among singles: 1.8 percent of those who were always single had ever had a sexually transmitted disease; 3 percent of those who were divorced or separated had ever had a sexually transmitted disease; and 3.1 percent of those who were divorced and remarried had ever had a sexually transmitted disease.   

Religious Practice: Those who worshiped weekly were least likely to have ever had an STD (1.3 percent). The likelihood of having an STD increased as regularity of worship decreased: 2 percent of those who worshiped less than monthly had ever had an STD; 2.5 percent of those who worshiped less than weekly but at least monthly had ever had an STD; and 2.8 percent of those who never worshipped had ever had an STD.

Family Structure and Religious Practice Combined: Those in non-intact family structures or who were single who worshiped weekly were less likely to have ever had an STD (1.1 percent), followed by those in intact marriages who worshiped weekly (1.6 percent). Those in intact marriages who never worshiped (2.7 percent) and those in non-intact family structures or who were single who never worshiped (3.1 percent) were more likely to have ever had an STD. The lowest score reported here is noteworthy. (The healthiest score reported here is unusual.)

Related Insights from Other Studies: Analysis of Wave One of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) found that STD reports were generally higher among adolescents who were not living in two-parent homes.[2] Data from the 1992 Youth Risk Behavior Survey/Supplement to the National Health Interview Survey found that living in a two-parent family was protective against adolescent sexual intercourse as well as STD transmission.[3] Another study shows that a history of STDs tends to coincide with a history of drinking  problems.[4]

 

[1] These charts draw on data collected by the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey

[2] E.C. Newbern, W.C. Miller, V.J. Schoenback, and J.S. Kaufman, “Family Socioeconomic Status and Self-Reported Sexually Transmitted Diseases among Black and White American Adolescents,” Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases 31, no. 9 (September 2004): 533-541.

[3] J.S. Santelli, R. Lowry, N.D. Brener and L. Robin, “The Association of Sexual Behaviors with Socioeconomic Status, Family Structure, and Race/Ethnicity among US Adolescents,” Journal of Public Health 90, no. 10 (October 2000): 1582-1588.

[4] Karen Paige Ericksen and Karen F. Trocki, “Sex, Alcohol and Sexually Transmitted Diseases: A National Survey,” Journal of Family Planning Perspectives 26, no. 6 (November 1994): 257-263.