Factors influencing age at first sexual intercourse for South African youth

Clifford O. Odimegwu, University of the Witwatersrand
Amos O. Oyedokun, Obafemi Awolowo University

Premarital adolescent and young peoples’ sexual activity is common around the world and early age at first sexual encounter without protection has been found to pose both social and public health challenges especially in the developing nations of the world. Many cross-sectional studies around South Africa confirmed low age at first sexual intercourse with its attendant negative consequences.The Cape Area Panel Study data were analysed to identify the factors associated with the reporting of risky sexual behaviours among 3,210 selected adolescents and young adults. The statistical methods used were simple descriptive statistics, chi-square test of association and Cox proportional hazard regression models together with their associated estimators. The findings show that the median age at first sexual intercourse in the study area remains 16 years during the study period between 2002 and 2005. The significant predictors of timing of first sexual intercourse were age, sex, population group, educational level, degree of happiness as a measure of self-efficacy, type of family structure, school attendance, childhood place of residence, peer sexual characteristics (whether peers were sexually active), educational aspiration, neighbourhood type and participation in prosocial activities. Therefore, this paper concluded that past policy and programme interventions have not succeeded in increasing the age at first sexual intercourse in the study area.

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Presented in Session 46: Teenage pregnancy outcomes