Marital Relationships and Women’s Status: Intergenerational Effects on Age at First Sex

Ushma D. Upadhyay, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

This study examines the intergenerational effects of martial relationships and women’s status on children’s age at first sex in Cebu, Philippines. Matched longitudinal data, on 1,661 mothers and their children are analyzed. The mothers were interviewed in 1994 when their children were ages 9-11, about sociodemographic characteristics, their marital relationships, and women’s status issues. Cox proportional hazards models assess children’s time to first sex as the children reported in 2005 at ages 20-22. The analysis found after multivariate adjustment, for each decision that parents made jointly, sons reported delayed first sex (HR=0.96, p<0.006). In households in which mothers have higher status, daughters reported delayed first sex (HR=0.78, p=0.005). These associations could not be explained by parenting style. The results demonstrate that households in which parental decision making is cooperative and that foster women’s status and equity between parents can have long-term positive effects on children, particularly delaying first sex.

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Presented in Poster Session 6