The processes through which families play a role in the religious and sexual socialization of children are varied and complex. Few studies have considered the impact of parental or family religiosity on young people’s sexual behaviors, either directly or through influence on adolescents’ own religiosity. This study of college students at a large, public university in the mid-Atlantic uses multidimensional measures to examine the relationships among family religiosity, parental monitoring during adolescence, students’ religiosity, and students’ specific sexual behaviors. Results suggest that greater family religiosity is associated with a decreased likelihood of engaging in certain sex acts, but for students who do engage, family religiosity is not associated with any differences in the timing of sexual onset or in the numbers of partners with whom students engaged. Results also suggest that parental monitoring may mediate the relationship between family religiosity and some sexual risk behavior. Greater individual religiosity is associated with a lower likelihood of having engaged in any sexual activity, and a higher likelihood of condom use for students who have had vaginal sex. This study offers valuable insights into the role that religiosity, at both the family and the individual level, plays in college students’ sexual behavior.
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