" The main independent variable of interest was the difference in age between a respondent and her male partner, which we treated as a continuous variable (coded in single years).
We estimated the respondent's age at the start of the romantic relationship by calculating the interval between the month and year of her birth and the month and year during which the relationship began.
For example, Darroch and colleagues examined data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) and found that the pregnancy rate for females whose sexual partners were older by six or more years was 3.7 times the rate for females whose partners were within two years of their age.
Using data from the same survey, Glei found that females aged 15-17 whose partner was three or more years older were 33% less likely than those with partners closer in age to use contraceptives; in contrast, among females 18 and older, having an older partner had little effect on contraceptive use.
Add Health is a probability-based, nationally representative survey of U. adolescents who were enrolled in grades 7-12 in the 1994-1995 school year.
Participants completed an in-home questionnaire that asked for demographic information, as well as information about health behaviors, community characteristics and health status.
Complete data for the variables that were relevant to our study were available for 1,975 females who reported having had a male romantic partner.Their findings suggested that wantedness is inversely related to the age difference between a young woman and her partner, and that it may be related to her limited control over the situation.Furthermore, Leitenberg and Saltzman found that among females who had had first sexual intercourse at ages 11-12, those who had a partner five or more years their senior had an elevated risk of attempted suicide, substance abuse and pregnancy.The magnitude of this association is most dramatic among the youngest females—for example, the odds of intercourse among 13-year-old females with a partner six years older are more than six times the odds among 13-year-old females with a same-age partner (odds ratio, 6.4), while 17-year-old females with partners six years older have about twice the odds of intercourse when compared with those who have a same-age partner (2.1).CONCLUSIONS: Young adolescent females with substantially older partners are much more likely than their peers to have sex with their partner, which exposes them to the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.However, our current understanding of the role of age gaps in romantic relationships is limited, and it is based mainly on studies of couples who are already sexually active.We address this limitation by investigating how the age difference between partners is related to whether a romantic relationship includes sexual intercourse.Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2002, 34(6):304-305 Researchers and policymakers have focused concern and attention on adolescent females who have romantic relationships with older males.The age difference between a female and her partner may influence relationship dynamics in ways that put the female at greater risk of both unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).We then calculated the difference between a respondent's age and the age of the partner (as reported by the respondent); a positive value indicated an older male partner, and a negative value a younger partner.Other covariates that we examined were the respondent's age at the start of the romantic relationship (coded in single years), her race or ethnicity (coded as white, black, Hispanic or other), her religious affiliation (coded as Baptist, Catholic, none or other), her mother's educational level (whether the mother had graduated from college) and whether a "mother figure" lived in her home at the time of the interview.