Predictors of early sexual debut among adolescents in North Norway
Objectives: The study thought to examine if early sexual debut among adolescents in North Norway differs by ethnicity that is between Sami and non-Sami. Further, it was examined if factors like: gender; family connectedness; peer relations; parental involvement; alcohol; smoking; socio-economic status of parents, educational aspirations and family structure, already found to affect adolescents age of sexual debut elsewhere, also apply to adolescents in North Norway. Methods: The study used data from the Norwegian Arctic Adolescent Health Study (NAAHS) that was conducted among 10th graders (15–16 years old) in junior high school from 2003 to 2005 in the three northernmost counties in Norway: Finnmark, Troms and Nordland. NAAHS was a cross-sectional study and data was collected from a total of 294 schools using questionnaires administered in classroom settings. Students who were not present at school completed the questionnaire at a later session. 4881students completed the questionnaire of which 9% (450) were Sami and the rest non-Sami. Data was analysed in spss version 19 using chi-square, independent t-test and cox regression. Results: 33% of the respondents reported an age of sexual debut of 10+ years and their median age of sexual debut was 14. There were more girls (60%) than boys (40%%) who had experienced their first intercourse. Bivariate analysis using chi-square/independent t-test showed that smoking, socio-economic status, family connectedness and parental involvement were significant predictors of early sexual debut. Multivariate analysis found smoking, and alcohol consumption to be significant predictors of early sexual debut for both boys and girls. Additionally, among boys, peer relations and parental involvement were significantly associated with early sexual debut while among girls the additional predictors were educational aspirations and family structure. Surprisingly and contrary to expectation, age of sexual debut was, in the multivariate analysis, neither significantly associated with ethnicity and nor with socio-economic status and family connectedness. Also, contrary to expectation, peer relations increased the age of sexual debut while parental involvement decreased the age of sexual debut. Conclusions: The present study agreed with other Norwegian studies which reported more girls experiencing intercourse earlier than boys. The median age of sexual debut was lower than that reported in similar studies in Norway and that could be due to effect of location (North vs South Norway) and the current data being younger. Variations in sexual behavior were found to be gender specific and associated with smoking frequency, alcohol frequency, family structure, peer relationships and parental involvement.
ForlagUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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