The association between sexual behaviours and initiation of post secondary education in South Africa

Bengesai, Annah, Khan, Hafiz T.A. ORCID: and Dube, Russell (2018) The association between sexual behaviours and initiation of post secondary education in South Africa. Journal of Biosocial Science, 51 (1). pp. 59-76. ISSN 0021-9320

Bengesai et al. Association between sexual behaviour and initiation of PSE in SA-2.pdf - Accepted Version

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Although young people in South Africa are growing up in an era where their socio-economic circumstances are seemingly better than their parents’ generation, they face greater risks in their trajectory to adulthood. This is mainly because the environment in which they are making sexual decisions is also rapidly evolving. Currently, South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the world among young people aged 15-24. With this in mind, the present study examined the effect of sexual behaviours initiated in adolescence on the initiation of post-secondary education (PSE). The analysis was conducted using the longitudinal Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS, Waves 1-5), which focused on young people’s sexual behaviours in Cape Town, South Africa. The sample was restricted to 3213 individuals who reported sexual debut during adolescence. Using logistic regression models that were fitted separately for males and females, the results reveal that several factors acted as either hindrances or protective factors to PSE enrolment. Early sexual debut (by age 17) was negatively associated with participation in tertiary education. Other variables that had a negative effect include lack of contraceptive use, parenthood, engaging in other risky behaviours and studying for less than an hour a day. Higher levels of parental education (except for paternal education in the female model), urban residence and higher aspirations and analogous behaviours (studying) acted as protective factors and were positively associated with PSE initiation. The paper also points to the relationship between early sexual debut and persistent inequality and provides empirical evidence for re-thinking policy development and implementation around schooling and sex education.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1017/S0021932017000670
Additional Information: © 2017 Cambridge University Press. This paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Biosocial Science ( and will appear in a revised form, subsequent to peer-review and/or editorial input by Cambridge University Press.
Subjects: Medicine and health > Health promotion and public health
Medicine and health > Health promotion and public health > Healthcare education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Hafiz T.A. Khan
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2017 07:35
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:09


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