Community Influences on Young People’s Sexual Behavior in 3 African Countries

Rob Stephenson, Emory University
Susan Allen, Emory University

This research investigates the influence of community-level characteristics on the sexual behaviors of young people (15-24) using DHS data from Burkina Faso, Ghana and Zambia. The analysis examines a binary variable coded one if the respondent reports that they had sex with more than one person in the 12 months prior to the survey and they did not use a condom at their last episode of sex. The analysis considers several dimensions of the community: economy, gender norms and inequalities, prevailing demographic behaviors, and the sexual behaviors and attitudes of older generations in the community. Separate models are fitted for males and females in each country. Significant community-level factors included, prevailing gender norms, demographic behaviors, and economic development, although there was variation is the significant factors across genders. The results stress the hierarchy of influences that exist on young people’s sexual behavior, highlighting the need to focus beyond the individual-level when addressing such behavior.

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Presented in Session 142: Emerging Knowledge about Sexual Behavior in Diverse Settings