The effect of household characteristics on adolescent childbearing in Lesotho.
Francis, Ifeoma Gloria
Early exposure of adolescents to sexual intercourse has given rise to an increase in adolescent pregnancy and childbearing, a situation that has proved to have both economic, social and health implications not only for the adolescent mother but also for her child. Using data from the 2004, Lesotho Demographic and Health Survey (LDHS, 2004), this study examines the effect of household characteristics on adolescent childbearing in Lesotho. The analyses done at three levels were based on a sample of 1,230, never married adolescents aged 15 to 19 years who had either always lived in the present residence or moved to the residence before age thirteen. The sample was a sub-sample from the dataset of all women of reproductive age interviewed during the survey. Logistic regression models were used to check for the odds of adolescent premarital births. The results show that only about seven percent of adolescents in the sample had premarital births. The older adolescents (18 and 19 years old) had the highest rates of premarital births, 14 and 19 percent respectively, indicating that the risk of premarital birth increases with age. The odds of premarital births was higher among adolescents that had first sexual intercourse at age 15 years or younger, and had achieved primary education or less. The results also showed the strong influence characteristics of co-resident women have on the behavior of adolescents. For instance, adolescents co-residing with an older woman that had had a premarital birth or first birth as a teenager, or who were separated or divorced, had higher odds of premarital births. The likelihood of adolescent premarital birth was found to be higher in households that were headed by females as well as in large households. The findings of this study have implications for programs designed to reduce adolescent pregnancy and childbearing. Most interventions to date, to reduce adolescent premarital pregnancy and childbearing, have focused primarily on adolescents themselves. The findings of this study shows that certain household characteristics influence adolescent premarital births and should therefore be taken into account in designing interventions to reduce adolescent premarital childbearing.
Adolescent , Childbearing , Household