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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 12, 2015

Family functionality and parental characteristics as determinants of sexual decision-making of in-school youths in a semi-urban area of Southwest Nigeria

  • Ayodeji M. Adebayo EMAIL logo , Ezidinma J. Ajuonu and Benson O. Betiku



Though research findings have indicated that family characteristics have a bearing on sexual behavior, there is a paucity of published literature on the role of family functionality and parental characteristics on adolescent sexual decision-making. This study was designed to assess the role of family function and parental influence on sexual behavior of in-school youths in secondary schools in a sub-urban area of Southwest Nigeria.


A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among secondary school students using semi-structured interviewer-assisted questionnaire. Information was obtained on the sexual behavior and parent-child characteristics. Family functionality was assessed using family APGAR standardized instrument. Association was established using χ2-test for qualitative variables and t-test for quantitative variables at p=0.05.


Mean age of respondents was 14.8±2.2 years. Majority were from monogamous family setting (70.7%) and lived with their families (75.6%). About a quarter (26.8%) was from dysfunctional families and 9.2% had ever had sexual intercourse. Recent sexual engagement in the preceding 1 month was reported (47.4%). The mean score for parental monitoring, father-child communication, mother-child communication, and parental disapproval of sex were 10.4±2.2, 9.3±2.3, 9.8±2.4, and 10.4±2.3, respectively. There was a significant association between parental monitoring (t=3.9, p≤0.001), mother-child communication (t=3.03, p=0.003), and parental disapproval of sex (t=5, p≤0.001); and sexual experience.


This study showed that parental influence had a vital role in the sexual behavior of young persons. Advocacy and health education interventions are needed among parents regarding their role in the sexual behavior of in-school youths.

Corresponding author: Ayodeji M. Adebayo, Department of Preventive Medicine and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University Ibadan, Nigeria, Phone: +2348033828948, E-mail:


We are deeply grateful to Dr Adeleke and Dr Omotoso, the Heads of the departments of Family Medicine and Community Medicine, respectively, for their support during the entire course of this study. The head teachers and staff of the four secondary schools selected for this study also deserve special thanks for their kind assistance during the study. We also appreciate our research assistants for their dedication and effort put into ensuring a successful study outcome. Most of all, we thank all study participants for finding time to respond to our survey.


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Received: 2015-3-30
Accepted: 2015-7-2
Published Online: 2015-9-12
Published in Print: 2016-11-1

©2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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