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  • Daniel C. Oshi (a1), Jordan Mckenzie (a1), Martin Baxter (a1), Royelle Robinson (a1), Stephan Neil (a1), Tayla Greene (a1), Wayne Wright (a1) and Jeorghino Lodge (a1)...


There is a high and increasing proportion of single-parent families in Jamaica. This has raised concerns about the potential impact of single-parent families on the social, cognitive and behavioural development of children, including their sexual relationships. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between being raised in a single-parent family and age of sexual debut among young people in Jamaica. The study was cross-sectional in design, and based on a multi-stage sampling procedure. The study was conducted in July/September 2016. The study sample comprised 233 respondents (110 males and 123 females) aged from 18 to 35 years (mean 26.37 years; SD 5.46). Respondents completed a self-administered questionnaire with questions on socio-demographic characteristics, family structure, sexual debut and current sexual behaviour. Ninety-seven (41.7%) respondents grew up in single-parent families. A total of 201 (86.3%) had had sex (102 males and 99 females). Their mean age of sexual debut was 15.51 years (SD 3.41). Sixty-five (32.3%) had early sexual debut (<16 years). Respondents from single-parent families were more likely to have had early sexual debut (56.9%; n=37) compared with those from two-parent families (43.1%, n=28; p=0.004). Only 44.6% (n=29) of those who experienced early sexual debut used a condom during their first sexual encounter compared with 73% (n=100) of those who had a later sexual debut (≥16 years; p=<0.001). A single-father family structure was a significant predictor of early sexual debut (AOR 5.5; 95%CI: 1.1–25.8). The study found a significant association between single-parent family structure and age of sexual debut.


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Journal of Biosocial Science
  • ISSN: 0021-9320
  • EISSN: 1469-7599
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-biosocial-science
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