Marriage Salience, Prospect and Attitudes, and Their Determining Role in Premarital Sex among Elite Females in Tehran; Testing a Theoretical Model

Farideh Khalajabadi Farahani , National Institute in Population Studies and Comprehensive Management of I.R. of Iran

Recent evidence suggests some changes in both premarital sex and meaning of marriage among educated females in Iran. This paper tries to answer “How meaning of marriage determines premarital sex when the effects of other important factors are controlled? ". A survey was conducted among 1055 female college students in Tehran over the Oct and Nov. 2018 using a stratified cluster sampling method and using an online pilot tested questionnaire. The data were analyzed using multivariate analysis, life table and structural equation modeling (SEM). Finding showed that despite a high significance of marriage, its priority compared to education was relatively low and females had a low marital prospect. Importance of sexual compatibility for a successful marital life and liberal sexual attitude was also shown among significant minorities of sexually experienced educated women. After control of the effect of age, peer norms, compliance with parental values, sexual knowledge and access to porn materials, new marital attitudes (OR=1.19, P<0.001) and greater marital salience (OR=1.06. P<0.05) remained as determinants of premarital sex in a theoretical model. These factors can explain 28% of variations of premarital sex among educated females. The determining role of new marital and sexual values are consistent with the 2nd demographic transition and structural theory and will have important implications for changes in marriage, divorce and sexual health in conservative societies such as Iran.

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 Presented in Session 104. Family Values and Behaviour