Transition into First Sex among Adolescents in Slum and Non-Slum Communities in Nairobi, Kenya
12 May 2015

While early sexual experiences are a key marker of the transition from childhood to adulthood, it is widely acknowledged that precocious initiation of sexual activity predisposes adolescents to negative health and psychological outcomes. Extant studies investigating adolescent sexuality in sub-Saharan Africa often rely on cross-sectional data lacking information on the social-psychological underpinnings of adolescent behavior. Through the theoretical lens of the protection-risk conceptual framework, this paper draws on two waves of longitudinal data collected from 2,134 adolescents to examine sociodemographic, psychosocial and behavioural predictors of transition to first sex among adolescents living in slum and non-slum settlements in urban Kenya. Study findings underscore the need to focus on very young adolescents and those growing up in resource-poor settings as these young people may be highly vulnerable to negative health outcomes stemming from precocious sexual activity.

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Authors: Caroline W. Kabiru, Donatien Beguy, Chi-Chi Undie, Eliya Msiyaphazi Zulu, and Alex C. Ezeha

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