Contextual Influences on Sexual Behavior among Youth in Two Latin American Countries

Sarah D. Gilman, Emory University
Rob Stephenson, Emory University

In Latin America, there is a dearth of information detailing how the environment in which one lives affects a young person’s sexual behavior. This analysis considers how community constructs like gender ratios in education and access to social capital influence sexual decision making among Bolivian and Dominican youth. Using Demographic Health Survey Data for Bolivia(2003) and the Dominican Republic(2007), we examine individual and community level factors associated with sexual behavior among youth ages 15-24. Models were fitted for four outcome variables: condom use at first sex, condom use at last sex, number of partners and age of sexual debut. Results show that sexual risk among young people in these countries depends not only on individual level characteristics, but also on prevailing cultural, demographic and economic community characteristics. These results support community focused initiatives as important intervention points in future behavioral change programs.

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Presented in Poster Session 4