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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 189-195

Early life exposures and risky sexual behaviors among adolescents: A cross-sectional study in Ghana

1 Department of Physician Assistantship, Presbyterian University College, Abetifi, Ghana
2 Department of Nursing, Presbyterian University College, Abetifi, Ghana
3 Department of Nursing, St Joseph Hospital, Koforidua, Ghana

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Joseph Ngmenesegre Suglo
Department of Nursing, Presbyterian University College, Abetifi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nmj.NMJ_100_20

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Background: Risky sexual behaviors (RSBs) are behaviors that could result in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. These behaviors are often initiated during adolescence, and the frequency of engagement in such behaviors rises with increasing age during the teenage years. It has been asserted that exposures to sexual materials early in life could lead to early sex debut among adolescents. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the early life exposures contributing to RSBs among basic school pupils in the Twifo Praso District of Ghana. Materials and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted using a structured questionnaire. Three hundred and sixty basic school pupils were selected by simple random sampling technique. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20. Results: The study found that 64.4% of the respondents have had sexual intercourse at a mean age of 13.7 years. Respondents from polygamous homes were more likely to engage in earlier sexual debut than those from monogamous home (r = 0.0343, P = 0.003). Furthermore, having a high number of friends who have had sex was associated with an early sexual debut (r = 0.720, P = 0.000). Conclusion: Adolescents are initiating sexual intercourse very early in life and this calls for customized reproductive health promotion activities aimed at minimizing risky sexual behaviors. Further studies on how parent–child sexual communication could delay sexual debut are recommended.

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