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Adolescent early marriage in northern Nigeria: Evidence to effective programmatic intervention

Andrew S Karlyn, Population Council
Annabel Erulkar, Population Council

Early marriage contributes to HIV exposure and negative RH outcomes for adolescent girls in northern Nigeria. We present the attitudinal and structural antecedents to early marriage among adolescent girls. 3915 young people aged 10 to 24 were interviewed in 2006. Perceived external autonomy among young people was significantly lower for girls (13.8%) than boys (38.9%) (p < 0.001), increasing slightly with age. Logistic regression confirms age and sex are significantly associated with autonomy, controlling for socio-demographic factors. Regressive gender attitudes toward girls play no significant role in perceived autonomy of girls or boys. Factors contributing to early marriage in girls include sex, age, and literacy (p<0.05). Low autonomy nearly doubles the likelihood of early marriage (OR = 0.04) (p<0.001). To conclude, the underlying social and structural factors associated with early marriage in northern Nigeria are largely immutable, however attitudes towards girls’ autonomy are sensitive to change by program intervention.

Presented in Poster Session 3