The Relationship between Families Characteristics and Adolescents' Sexual Risk taking Behavior: The Case of Two High Schools in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


Sexually active adolescents are increasingly at risk of HIVIAIDS and other sexually transmilled infections. The family environment is critical in supporting healthy adolescent development. As a primary agent of socialization, the family can exert a strong influence on adolescents' sexual behavior. To enhance family's role in this regard, it is important to understand the role of the family in influencing sexual behavior among school going adolescents. In an allempt of investigating the role of the family on sexual behavior of adolescents' crosssectional study that examined the association of familial characteristics and sexual-risk taking behavior of adolescents was conducted at two high schools in Addis Ababa. A sample of 480 students (240 male and 240 female) completed a pre-tested structured anonymous questionnaire. Qualitative information was ,also obtained from four focus group discussions. The finding showed that 22.5% of the students are sexually active and only 24.1% used condom consistently. Further results show that familial characteristics, namely, perceived parentadolescent communication, perceived parental monitoring, perceived parent-adolescent connectedness, family structure and education and income of parents are significantly associated with sexual activity of adolescents. Moreover, peer influence, peer pressure and perception of Fiends sexual activity, was significantly associated with sexual activity of adolescents. Significant difference by gender and school of allendance was also found with regards to family process variables, sexual activity and condom use of adolescents. The overall research finding indicates that adolescents who communicated with parents on sexual matters, who reponed more parental monitoring, who have good parent-adolescents connectedness, who live with both parents and who come from well educated and high income families are not prone to premarital sexual activity as compared to their counterparts. The evidence of this study suggests that parents need to be targeted when reproductive health intervention plans are set and implemented. Parents need to be aware of the importance of having good relationship with their children including, the importance of creating a Fee conducive environment where by their children feel free to discuss sexual malters with them, importance of close relationship with their children and importance of proper monitoring which contributes to the development of self care and discipline among adolescents. Moreover, other concerned bodies need to develop strategies that encourage positive parent-adolescent relationships.' Additional studies are also needed to have a broader insight which includes samples which were not covered and issues that were not explained in this particular study.



Relationship between Families Characteristics