African Journal of Reproductive Health

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Do Family Structure and Poverty Affect Sexual Risk Behaviors of Undergraduate Students in Nigeria?

Clifford Odimegwu, Sunday A Adedini


This study examined sexual practices in a Nigerian University community with a view to understanding the role of family structure and poverty on risky sexual behaviours. A representative sample of 1,301 undergraduate students was randomly selected from the various faculties that made up the University. Using a questionnaire instrument, information was obtained on sexual behaviours of interest such as sexual initiation, multi-partnered sexual activity and condom use. Findings showed a noticeable variation in the relationship between family structure and risky sexual behaviour. Contrary to expectations, students from single parent homes showed lower likelihood of having multiple sexual partners. Also poverty was found not to be a critical determinant of risky sexual behaviour. Given the unclear nature of the findings, future study should explore further understanding of the relationship between family characteristics, poverty rating and risky sexual behaviour among students.

Keywords: Sexual risk behaviour, family structure, poverty, undergraduate students, Nigeria

(Afr J Reprod Health 2013; 17[4]: 137-149)

AJOL African Journals Online