Adolescent pregnancy and associated factors in South African youth|
Mchunu, G; Peltzer, K; Tutshana, B & Seutlwadi, L
Background: Adolescent pregnancy, occurring in girls aged 10–19 years, remains a serious health and social problem
worldwide, and has been associated with numerous risk factors evident in the young people’s family, peer, school, and
Objective: To assess the prevalence of adolescent pregnancy and associated factors in the South African context, as part of
a population-based household survey that formed part of an evaluation of the impact of loveLife, South Africa’s national
HIV prevention campaign for young people.
Methods: A cross-sectional population-based household survey was conducted using a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling
approach. The total sample included 3123 participants, aged 18-24, 54.6% men and 45.4% women, from four of nine
provinces in South Africa (Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga).
Results: Among female youth 19.2% said that they had an adolescent pregnancy, while 5.8% of male youth indicated that
they had impregnated a girl when they were an adolescent (12-19 years), 16.2% of the women indicated that they ever had
an unwanted pregnancy and 6.7% had ever terminated a pregnancy. In multivariable analysis among women it was found
that being employed or unemployed, greater poverty, having higher sexually permissive attitudes and scoring higher on the
contraceptive or the condom use index was associated with adolescent pregnancy, and among men wanting the pregnancy
and having a sense of the future were associated with adolescent pregnancy.
Conclusion: Adolescent pregnancy was found to be high in this sample of South African youth. Multiple factors contributing
to adolescent pregnancy have been identified which can be used in targeting young people on the prevention of adolescent
Adolescent pregnancy; youth between 18-24 years, loveLife youth programme exposure, South Africa