Adolescent Identities and Sexual Behavior: An Examination of Anderson’s Player Hypothesis

Peggy C. Giordano, Bowling Green State University
Miriam J. Northcutt, Bowling Green State University
Monica A. Longmore, Bowling Green State University
Wendy D. Manning, Bowling Green State University

The current study relies on structured and qualitative data drawn from the first and third waves of the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (TARS). We first investigate the social characteristics of male adolescents who self-identify as players in order to evaluate Anderson’s claim that this social role is inextricably linked with poverty and minority status. A second phase of the analysis examines the attitude and behavioral repertoires that connect to the player identity. An important goal of this analysis is to determine whether the player identity contributes significant variance in levels of such reported sexual risk-taking behaviors, after traditional predictors have been taken into account. Finally, we supplement these quantitative analyses with excerpts from in-depth qualitative interviews with youths who self-identify as players, those whose behaviors (large number of sexual behaviors relative to similar aged- peers) would appear to qualify them for this label, and others who position against such an orientation.

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Presented in Session 108: Healthy Sexual Development in Adolescence