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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 April 2012

Department of Sociology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
CEPS/INSTEAD, Luxembourg
Department of Sociology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
APHRC, Nairobi, Kenya


Although attitudes to premarital sex may be influenced by several factors, the importance of religion to that discourse cannot be underestimated. By providing standards to judge and guide behaviour, religion provides a social control function such that religious persons are expected to act in ways that conform to certain norms. This study investigated the interconnectedness of several dimensions of religion and premarital sexual attitudes among young people in the informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya. Using reference group as the theoretical base, it was found that those affiliated with Pentecostal/Evangelical faiths had more conservative attitudes towards premarital sex than those of other Christian faiths. Additionally, while a high level of religiosity was found to associate with more conservative views on premarital sex, the effect was more pronounced among Pentecostal groups. The findings are discussed in relation to programmes on adolescent sexuality.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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