The influence of social connectedness and monitoring on adolescent sexual activity in Ghana

Akwasi Kumi-Kyereme, University of Cape Coast
Kofi Awusabo, University of Cape Coast
Ann E. Biddlecom, The Alan Guttmacher Institute

This paper examines the social ties, monitoring and communication between Ghanaian adolescents and parents, other family members and peers in relation to sexual activity using focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and 2004 nationally-representative survey data from 12-19 year olds. The qualitative data show clear gender differences in communication and monitoring: Daughters are more often monitored by parents than are sons, and they receive information about avoiding pregnancy while sons are told only to “be careful.” While fathers tend to be autocratic, mothers are considered to be sympathetic but not helpful with information about sexual issues. Multivariate analyses of the survey data show a negative relationship between parental monitoring and recent sexual activity for both males and females and that the higher the level of monitoring, the lower the likelihood of recent sexual activity. Once adolescents are already sexually-active, parental monitoring and communication have little bearing on the use of condoms.

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Presented in Session 133: Adolescent sexuality and contraception