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International Journal on Disability and Human Development

Official journal of the the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Israel

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Volume 13, Issue 2


Intention to engage in sexual behavior: influence of family functioning and positive youth development over time

Cecilia M.S. Ma
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, P.R. China
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/ Daniel T.L. Shek
  • Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, P.R. China
  • Centre for Innovative Programmes for Adolescents and Families, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, P.R. China
  • Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau, Macau, P.R. China
  • Department of Social Work, East China Normal University, Shanghai, P.R. China
  • Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-04-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijdhd-2014-0310


This study examined the influences of family functioning and positive youth development on the intention among adolescents to engage in sexual behavior using a longitudinal design involving two waves of data. Using a cross-lagged approach, analyses using structural equation modeling showed that positive youth development qualities at Time 1 predicted the intention to engage in sexual activity in the future at, Time 2, via family functioning at Time 2. However, positive youth development at Time 2 did not mediate the effect of family functioning at Time 1 on the intention to engage in sexual behavior at Time 2. Family functioning at Time 2 was concurrently associated with the intention to engage in sexual activity at Time 2. This study highlighted the importance of family functioning and positive youth development in reducing risky sexual behavior of early adolescents in Hong Kong.

Keywords: cross-lagged design; intention to engage in sexual behavior; longitudinal data; structural equation modeling


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About the article

Corresponding author: Cecilia M.S. Ma, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Room HJ431, Core H, Hunghom, Hong Kong, E-mail:

Received: 2013-01-02

Accepted: 2013-02-09

Published Online: 2014-04-12

Published in Print: 2014-05-01

Citation Information: International Journal on Disability and Human Development, Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 247–253, ISSN (Online) 2191-0367, ISSN (Print) 2191-1231, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijdhd-2014-0310.

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