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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Why wait till marriage? : sexual decision making among Euro-Canadian and Chinese Canadian young adults Wong, Queenie Yan Kei


Premarital sexual behaviours are more common among Euro Canadian young adults than Chinese young adults. While researchers acknowledge the significant role of culture in explaining the sexual differences between ethnic groups, few have examined how culture shapes the sexual behaviours of Chinese and Euro Canadian young adults. Based on the symbolic interaction framework, this study examines whether Euro-Canadian and Chinese young adults are socialized to engage in sexual behaviour for different reasons. In particular, the reasons of interest are positive affection, physical pleasure, peer pressure and partner pressure. Religion and the virtue of filial piety are hypothesized to discourage premarital sex. This study also looks at the effects of acculturation on the levels of sexual involvement. This is an exploratory study, and quantitative data were collected from university students residing in Greater Vancouver via an online survey. In contrast with previous findings, ethnicity did not predict the different levels of premarital sexual involvement observed in the university respondents. Rather, this study revealed that the respondents’ levels of sexual involvement were related to the reasons why they engage, or not engage, in sex. A limitation of the study was the small sample size and its potentially non-representative nature. One of the strengths of the present study is the use of a theoretical framework as the basis of the research.

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