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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Volume 27, Issue 3


Multiple sexual partnerships among female adolescents in rural Uganda: the effects of family structure and school attendance

Nanlesta A. Pilgrim / Saifuddin Ahmed / Ronald H. Gray / Joseph Sekasanvu / Tom Lutalo / Fred Nalugoda / David Serwadda / Maria J. Wawer
Published Online: 2014-11-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2014-0032


Background: A better understanding is needed of the contextual factors that influence HIV risk behaviors among female adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. The objectives of this study were to assess the influence of family structure on lifetime sexual partners and on the number of sexual partners in the last year among female adolescents in rural Rakai, Uganda. In addition, the study assessed whether the influence of family structure on these outcomes differed by the school attendance status of the adolescents.

Methods: The sample consisted of 2337 unmarried adolescent girls, aged 15–19, enrolled in the Rakai Community Cohort Study. The last survey interview within the time period of 2001–2008 available for each girl was used. Analyses were stratified by age (15–17 year olds and 18–19 year olds) and school status. Multinomial logistic and poisson regressions were used.

Results: Living in a household with a biological father was protective against both outcomes. Family structure was not associated with the outcomes among in-school adolescents but it was significantly associated with the outcomes among out-of-school adolescents.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that understanding the familial context in which female adolescents develop, as well as its interaction with school attendance, is important for HIV prevention efforts. Both research and programmatic initiatives must consider the interplay between the family and school domains when considering ways to reduce HIV acquisition among adolescent women.

Keywords: family structure; school attendance; sexual partners


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About the article

Corresponding author: Nanlesta A. Pilgrim, Population Council, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 280, Washington, DC 20008, USA, Phone: +1-202-237-9400 ext. 409, Fax:+1-202-237-8410, E-mail:

Received: 2014-05-30

Accepted: 2014-08-09

Published Online: 2014-11-21

Published in Print: 2015-08-01

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, Volume 27, Issue 3, Pages 319–328, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, ISSN (Print) 0334-0139, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2014-0032.

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