ItemA Collective Effort to Improve Sociology Students’ Writing Skills(2014-04) Burgess-Proctor, Amanda; Cassano, Graham; Condron, Dennis J.; Lyons, Heidi A.; Sanders, GeorgeNationwide, academic sociologists at all types of higher education institutions face the challenge of working to improve students’ writing skills. In this article, we describe a collective effort by a group of faculty members in one undergraduate sociology program to implement several effective writing-improvement strategies. We advocate aiming to improve students’ writing by working together on a united front rather than working in isolation. After explaining the origins of the collective emphasis on writing that emerged in our group and briefly outlining the writing-improvement strategies that we utilize, we use student survey data to reflect on major themes before concluding with a discussion of the merits of our collective approach. ItemYoung Adult Casual Sexual Behavior: Life-Course-Specific Motivations and Consequences(2014) Lyons, Heidi A.; Manning, Wendy D.; Longmore, Monica A.; Giordano, Peggy C.Most young adults have had some casual sex experience. However, it is important to understand the motivations for such behavior. We investigate the motivations for and consequences of casual sex using a life-course lens. We use the Toledo Adolescent Relationship Study to examine a diverse sample of young adults with recent casual sexual experiences (N = 239). We draw on a subset of in-depth relationship narratives (N = 44) to provide a more nuanced understanding of the motivations for and consequences of casual sex. We find that sexual pleasure and substance use remain the most common reasons for participating in casual sex. However, young adults report motives that are associated with the young adult stage in the life course including too busy for commitment, geographic mobility, and feeling too young to be tied down. These findings can inform service providers who work with the young adult population. ItemReligiosity and the Transition to Nonmarital Fertility(2014) Lyons, Heidi A.; Smith, Scott J.Nonmarital parity is associated with several negative outcomes, including health problems, educational problems, and poverty. Understanding the risk and protective factors associated with nonmarital parenthood can inform policy and interventions, reducing both the incidences and associated consequences. The current study focuses on how intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity (the degree to which individuals or groups employ religious ideology in forming values and making decisions) are related to the timing of nonmarital parity using discrete time hazard modeling of a nationally representative sample of adolescent females (N = 7,367) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The majority of the sample (86 %) claimed a religious affiliation and almost a third (32 %) had a nonmarital birth during the study. Even though the majority of the sample is White (67 %), Black and Hispanic females were more likely to experience a nonmarital birth. Results indicate that intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity and religious affiliation assert protective effects for some populations while religious affiliation increases risk in the full model. Recommendations for policy, intervention, and future research are offered. ItemGender and Casual Sex from Adolescence to Young Adulthood: Social and Life Course Correlates(2014) Lyons, Heidi A.; Manning, Wendy D.; Longmore, Monica A.; Giordano, Peggy C.The prevalence of casual sexual activity among teens and emerging adults has led to much public attention. Yet limited research has investigated whether the number of casual sexual partners per year changes as heterosexual men and women transition from adolescence into emerging adulthood. We considered the influence of social context and life course factors on the number of casual sex partners. We examined four waves of interviews from the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study and used negative binomial growth curve models to investigate patterns of change in the number of casual sex partners (N = 1,196) ages 15 to 22. Men and women both reported increases in the number of casual sex partners over time, and did not differ from each other in the rate of change over time. Forty percent of respondents reported a recent casual sex partner at age 22. Number of prior dating relationships, education status, substance use, and perceptions of peer sexual behavior significantly influenced the number of casual sex partners. Emerging adults who did not complete high school, compared to those enrolled in four-year degree programs, reported significantly more partners. The findings contribute to research on intimate relationships and provide insights for programs targeting emerging adults.