Premarital sexual activity among unmarried adolescents in northern Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study

Sex Reprod Healthc. 2015 Mar;6(1):9-13. doi: 10.1016/j.srhc.2014.06.004. Epub 2014 Jul 8.


Background: Sexual activity can expose adolescents to the risks of unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion and sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. This risk is magnified for girls. The objective of the study is to determine the magnitude and correlates of premarital sexual activity among unmarried female adolescents in northern Ethiopia.

Methods: The study employed a cross sectional study design conducted at comprehensive secondary school among unmarried female adolescents in Maichew town, northern Ethiopia. A pre-tested structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression.

Results: A total of 624 secondary and preparatory school never married female adolescents were included in this study. About 183 (29.3%) reported to have started sexual intercourse. Mean age at first sexual intercourse was 16.6 years (SD 1.81). About 38% of the girls reported that they had used condom at their last sexual activity. In multivariable analysis, older age, living with parents, parental residence, elder sister or friends who had started premarital sexual activity, and peer influence, were independently associated with sexual initiation.

Conclusions: The study of this finding clearly demonstrated that rural adolescents initiate sexual activity early with limited protection from infections and unintended pregnancies. Community and school based sexual health education is recommended.

Keywords: Adolescent; Ethiopia; Premarital; Sexual; Students.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marital Status*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Women's Health