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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

SANCHEZ, Ninive et al. Sexual intercourse among adolescents in Santiago, Chile: a study of individual and parenting factors. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2010, vol.28, n.4, pp. 267-274. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892010001000005.

OBJECTIVE: To examine a range of individual, parenting, and family factors associated with sexual intercourse among a community sample of youth and their families in Santiago, Chile. METHODS: Data were taken from the Santiago Longitudinal Study conducted in January 2008-November 2009. Participants were 766 youth (mean age = 14.03 years, 51% male) from municipalities of low- to mid-socioeconomic status. Variables included emotional and behavioral subscales from the Child Behavior Checklist's Youth Self Report, parental monitoring, family involvement, parental control and autonomy, relationship with each parent, and sexual activity. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the odds of sexual intercourse initiation. RESULTS: Seventy (9.14%) youth reported having had sex in their lifetime; the average age of first sexual intercourse among this group was 13.5 years (Standard Deviation [SD] = 1.74) for males and 14.08 (SD = 1.40) for females. Having sex was inversely associated with withdrawn-depressed symptoms (Odds Ratio [OR] = 0.84, Confidence Interval [CI] = 0.72-0.97), but positively associated with somatic complaints (OR = 1.20, CI = 1.04-1.38) and rule breaking behavior (OR = 1.21, CI = 1.08-1.36), after adjusting for demographic and other individual and parenting variables. The majority (80%) of the youth who had had sex reported using protection at the time of last intercourse. CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight the role that mental health problems-some of them not commonly associated with onset of sexual activity-may play in a youth's decision to have sex. The potential protective effects of several parenting and family characteristics disappeared with youth age and youth behavioral problems.

Keywords : Sexual behavior; adolescent; adolescent behavior; pregnancy in adolescence; Chile.

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