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Talks at Twelve: Ann Meier, Friday, August 24, 2012

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Significant Others, Sex Norms, and Adolescent Well-Being
Ann Meier, Sociology, University of Minnesota

Friday, August 24, 2012
Beebe Hall - 2nd floor conference room

Using data from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Ann Meier and colleagues Eric Grodsky and Bill McCarthy investigate the microlevel origins of adolescent sex norms. They focus on stated norms (attitudes), as well as enacted norms (behaviors) and the influence of people from four primary groups: parents, friends, classmates, and schoolmates. Dr. Meier will talk about how these four groups vary in their levels of attachment, social proximity, and exposure to adolescents. Their findings reveal that parents, friends, and schoolmates make distinctive contributions to adolescent sex norm development, whereas classmates tend not to have unique influence. In almost all cases, schoolmates’ contributions to adolescents’ sex norms are at least twice the size of those of friends and classmates. Further, parental influence is consistently and significantly associated with both stated and enacted norms. Overall, they find that the attitudes and the actions of those with whom adolescents are close to, as well as those who are more distant contribute to teenagers’ views about sexual intercourse and their decisions to have sex. It is these normative contexts, they suggest, that shape the effects of sex on adolescent well-being.

Ann Meier is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota and an affiliate of the Minnesota Population Center. Her work on adolescent romantic and sexual relationships has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, and the Sociological Quarterly among other journals. This work was funded by a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) on Social Development into Adulthood and with an ongoing research grant (R01) on Adolescent Sex, Well-Being, and Normative Contexts. In addition, current collaborative work with Kelly Musick (Cornell) on family environments and adolescent well-being appears in Social Science Research, Journal of Marriage and Family, and in the edited volume Early Adulthood in a Family Context (Springer). Finally, Meier’s work on gender and sexuality differences in adolescent and young adults’ relationship values appears in Journal of Marriage and Family and Contexts.

Lunch will be served. This talk is open to all.

Co-sponsored by the Cornell Population Center.

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