Community structure and timing of sexual activity among adolescent girls in Nigeria

Oluwaseyi Dolapo Somefun, Emmanuel Olamijuwon*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Studies have linked the timing of sexual debut to unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmissible infections, including HIV. Current understandings of sexual debut among Nigerian adolescents focused on the roles of individual and familial characteristics. We leveraged the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey data to examine how community features like affluence, ethnic diversity, and women empowerment may be associated with the timing of sexual debut among adolescent girls. The sample comprised 7449 adolescent girls who were usual residents in 6,505 households and 1,352 clusters or communities. Statistical associations between community characteristics and the onset of sexual debut were assessed using a two-level mixed-effects parametric survival model with Weibull distribution. We found that community affluence [aHR:0.43, 95%CI: 0.30–0.62] and community ethnic diversity [aHR: 0.63, 95%CI: 0.42–0.94] are associated with a lower hazard of sexual debut among adolescent girls. We also observed that women that married within the observation period had an earlier sexual initiation than those who were unmarried. The results disaggregated by marital status further shows that higher community level of women’s employment [aHR: 2.45, 95%CI: 1.38–4.38] and women’s education [aHR:1.85, 95%CI: 1.03–3.33] were associated with a higher hazard of sexual debut among unmarried adolescent girls but not married adolescent girls. Higher community affluence [aHR:0.40, 95%CI: 0.27–0.60] was also associated with a lower hazard of sexual debut among unmarried adolescent girls but not married adolescent girls. Our results illuminate the associated factors of the timing of sexual debut among adolescent girls that moves beyond individual characteristics to community characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0269168
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2022

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