Gender and the effects of an economic empowerment program on attitudes toward sexual risk-taking among AIDS-orphaned adolescent youth in Uganda

J Adolesc Health. 2010 Apr;46(4):372-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.08.010.


Purpose: This article examines gender differences in attitudes toward sexual risk-taking behaviors of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-orphaned youth participating in a randomized control trial testing an economic empowerment intervention in rural Uganda.

Methods: Adolescents (average age 13.7 years) who had lost one or both parents to AIDS from 15 comparable schools were randomly assigned to either an experimental (n=135) or a control condition (n=142). Adolescents in the experimental condition, in addition to usual care, also received support and incentives to save money toward secondary education.

Results: Findings indicate that although adolescent boys and girls within the experimental condition saved comparable amounts, the intervention appears to have benefited girls, in regard to the attitudes toward sexual risk-taking behavior, in a different way and to a lesser extent than boys.

Conclusions: Future research should investigate the possibility that adolescent girls might be able to develop equally large improvements in protective attitudes toward sexual risk taking through additional components that address gendered social norms.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child, Orphaned / education*
  • Child, Orphaned / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Poverty / economics
  • Poverty / prevention & control*
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Uganda