Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
FLOREZ, Carmen Elisa. Socioeconomic and contextual determinants of reproductive activity among adolescent women in Colombia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2005, vol.18, n.6, pp.388-402. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892005001000002.
OBJECTIVE: To contribute to a better understanding of the problems of pregnancy among adolescent women, including proximate and socioeconomic determining factors, in two large, culturally different cities in Colombia: Santa Fe de Bogotá and Cali. METHODS: This longitudinal study combined quantitative and qualitative research methods, using information generated by a survey of adolescents conducted in 2003. The survey included 550 adolescents in Bogotá and 550 adolescents in Cali, from all socioeconomic strata. To analyze the determinants, discrete-time proportional hazards models were used. For the qualitative study, 72 in-depth interviews and four focus groups were done. With the information organized by subjects and categories that were defined in relation to the purposes of the study, categories were identified that arose from the patterns and recurrences in the data, in order to see sociocultural trends by sex, stratum, and city. RESULTS: The patterns of sexual activity, union (married or unmarried relationship), and maternity differ considerably among the socioeconomic strata, in both of the cities. The adolescent women in the low stratum begin having sexual relations, form unions, and become mothers earlier in life and with greater frequency than do adolescent women in the medium or high strata. The main determinant of the reproductive behavior of adolescent women is the set of contextual and socioeconomic factors in the home, mainly the family context (environment and supervision) and the educational climate (the average number of years of formal education of the family members over the age of 15). CONCLUSIONS: Sex education has been provided in the schools in Colombia since 1993, but our results clearly indicate that it has had only a limited impact on the reproductive behavior of adolescent women.
Keywords : Adolescent; pregnancy in adolescence; sexual behavior; Colombia.