Adolescent Perspectives on the Social Consequences of Premarital Sex and Pregnancy in Urban Kenya

Francis O. Onyango, University of Pennsylvania

I examine the perceptions of school-going adolescents in Nairobi, Kenya, regarding the possible reaction of the significant others to premarital sex, and their own likely response to a premarital pregnancy exploring whether such perceptions are associated with preferred ideal age of sexual debut and HIV/AIDS risk perception. Data used are from a survey conducted by the Population Council and the Nation Media Group in June/July 2001 involving 3598 students. Results show that females were more likely to perceive negative peer reaction while no gender differences are noted in perceived parental/guardian reaction, or in the possible response to a premarital pregnancy. Perceived negative peer reaction is strongly associated with preference for later ages of sexual debut; perceived negative parental/guardian reaction is not significantly associated with any of the dependent variables; possible response to a premarital pregnancy gives unexpected results; while none of the variables is strongly associated with HIV/AIDS risk perception.

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Presented in Session 120: Youth Behaviors and Risk for Pregnancy and HIV/AIDS