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Effects of family structures in childhood and adolescence on first intercourse in an African context

Zacharie Tsala Dimbuene, Université de Montréal
Barthelemy D. Kuate, Université de Montréal

Previous studies addressing the onset of sexual intercourse in Sub-Saharan Africa had adopted static approaches and focused mainly on individual factors which can increase the likelihood of premarital sexual intercourse. They were often limited to female adolescents. These studies did not take into account the changes in family structures (prior to and during adolescence) and their effects on sexual outcomes during adolescence. Using cohort retrospective data from the 2002 Cameroon Family and Health Survey (CFHS) and discrete-time hazard models, this study investigates the relationships between changing family structures and premarital intercourse among male and female youth. The study takes a life course approach and assumes that premarital sexual intercourse depends on the broader context within which young people has lived. Three explanations commonly used in Western countries are tested in the African setting: the socialization, the social control and the instability and change hypotheses.

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Presented in Session 99: Household and family influences on adolescent sexuality