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African Journal of Reproductive Health
Women's Health and Action Research Centre
ISSN: 1118-4841
Vol. 16, No. 2, 2012, pp. 147-172
Bioline Code: rh12026
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Reproductive Health, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2012, pp. 147-172

 en Influences of Family Structure Dynamics on Sexual Debut in Africa: Implications for Research, Practice and Policies in Reproductive Health and Social Development
Defo, Barthelemy Kuate & Dimbuene, Zacharie Tsala


There is no research on the timing, sequencing and number of changes in family environment and their influences on sexual and reproductive health outcomes in Africa. Using a population-based survey with data on family structure at three points in the life course, this paper examines the influences of these family structure dynamics on the timing of first sex among unmarried males and females aged 12-24 years in Cameroon. The number and timing of family transitions significantly impacted the timing of sexual debut for both males and females. The median age at first sex (18.7 years) is higher among young people without family transition than among those with one transition (18.2 years) or two transitions (17.7 years). Family transitions occurring during childhood were significantly associated with premature sexual initiation for females but not for males. Reproductive health and social development interventions for young people in Africa should integrate the changing contexts and transitions in family structure (Afr J Reprod Health 2012 (Special Edition); 16[2]: 147-172).

Family structure, sexuality, reproductive health, social development, young people, Africa

Defo, Barthelemy Kuate & Dimbuene, Zacharie Tsala


Il n'existe pas des recherches sur l'occurrence, les séquences et le nombre de modifications des structures familiales ainsi que leurs influences sur la santé sexuelle et de reproduction en Afrique. A partir des données d'une enquête basée sur la population ayant collecté des informations sur les structures familiales à trois différents moments au cours de la vie chez les célibataires des deux sexes âgés de 12 a 24 ans au Cameroun, cette étude examine les effets de la dynamique des structures familiales sur le début de l'activité sexuelle. Le nombre de transitions familiales et leur occurrence sont significativement associés à l'âge au premier rapport sexuel tant chez les filles que chez les garçons. L'âge moyen au premier rapport sexuel est plus élevé chez les répondants n'ayant vécue aucune transition familiale (18,7 ans) que ceux qui ont connu une transition (18,2 ans) ou deux transitions familiales (17,7 ans). Une transition familiale survenue durant l'enfance influence l'entrée en sexualité des familles, mais pas celles des garçons. Les activités d'intervention en santé de reproduction et développement social des jeunes en Afrique doivent intégrer les changements des contextes et transitions des structures familiales (Afr J Reprod Health 2012 (Special Edition); 16[2]: 147-172).

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