Changes in the Link Between Religiosity and Sexuality in Emerging Croatian Adults: An Analysis of the Harmonised National Data in the 2010–2021 Period

Aleksandar Štulhofer , Ivan Landripet , Goran Koletić


The study examined whether recent changes in the
expression of religiosity among youth in Croatia affected its
association with sexuality. Two waves of a cross-sectional
national survey of participants aged 18–25 years from 2010
(n = 1,005) and 2021 (n = 1,210) were used for analyses.
Two data harmonisation procedures – required due to different
sampling strategies and recent changes in the expression
of religiosity in the country – are presented first. Taking
into account the non-linearity of the relationship between
religiosity and emerging adults’ sexual behaviour, a substantial
decrease in the contribution of religiosity to delayed
sexual initiation was observed. Associations between religiosity
on the one hand, and age at first sexual intercourse and
the number of sexual partners on the other hand, were
found almost exclusively among the most religious youth. In
addition, this relationship remained stable and marginal in the observed period. Although a significant decrease in
sexual risk-taking among emerging Croatian adults over the
observed period was recently reported, this change should
not be attributed to the effect of religiosity.


religiosity; sexual debut; number of sexual partners; emerging adults; survey data harmonisation

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Copyright (c) 2023 Aleksandar Štulhofer, Ivan Landripet, Goran Koletić

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096