High risk behaviours among in-school female adolescents in Port Harcourt
Background: Adolescent risky behaviours are major public health concern globally because they are the leading causes of preventable morbidity and mortality in youths and adults. Available evidence show that these behaviours are interrelated, but most previous studies and intervention measures have focused on single risky behaviour at a time.
Aim: To determine the prevalence of behaviours leading to violence, risky sexual behaviours and substance use among female adolescents in Port Harcourt and their interrelatedness.
Methods: This was a cross sectional study done in July 2014, involving 1330 senior secondary 1 and 2 students in a selected all-girls school in Port Harcourt. A structured, self-administered questionnaire was used to obtain relevant information on three types of risky behaviours, such as behaviours leading to violence, sexual behaviours and substance use. Data was analyzed with SPSS version 16 statistical software.
Results: A total of 1330 students participated in this survey, mean age 15.74±1.45years. The prevalence of bullying, engaging in physical fight and carrying weapons to school were 23%, 22.6% and 4.1% respectively. The prevalence of substance use was 45.6% (alcohol), 9.77% (cigarette), 2.9% (marijuana) and 2.3% (cocaine). The prevalence of sexual intercourse was 27.4% (364/1330). A positive association was found between substance use and carrying weapons to school. Positive associations also existed between being sexually experienced and substance use.
Conclusion: There was a high prevalence of risky behaviours among the female adolescents in this study and these behaviours are interrelated.
Keywords: Behaviours, High-risk, Female, Adolescents