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Gender Differences in Adult Perspectives on Adolescent Reproductive Behaviors: Evidence from Lomé, Togo


Speizer, Ilene S.; Mullen, Stephanie A.; & Amégee, Kodjopatapa (2001). Gender Differences in Adult Perspectives on Adolescent Reproductive Behaviors: Evidence from Lomé, Togo. International Family Planning Perspectives, 27(4), 178-185.


Context: Information on adults' attitudes toward adolescent sexual and contraceptive behaviors is crucial, since adults may facilitate or obstruct adolescents' adoption of healthy behaviors. Relatively little information in this area has been gathered in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods: In 1998, baseline data were collected from 1,027 adults aged 30 and older as part of an evaluation of a youth center in Lome, Togo. Chi-square tests and multivariate analyses were used to assess differences by gender in adults' perspectives on adolescent reproductive health behaviors.
Results: Women in Lome hold more conservative attitudes than men toward adolescent sexuality, specifically in their views on contraceptive use among adolescents and unmarried couples. For example, bivariate data indicate that 58% of adult women but only 48% of adult men disapprove of premarital sex among adolescents. Moreover, nearly one-half (48%) of women disapprove of young people using contraceptives, compared with fewer than one-third (31%) of men; on the other hand, 40% of women and 25% of men disapprove of unmarried couples practicing contraception. According to multivariate analyses, older and less-educated adults are more likely to hold conservative attitudes than younger and more-educated adults. Once age and other social and demographic variables are controlled for, women are significantly more likely than men to have held a reproductive health discussion with a daughter, but there is no difference by gender of the adult in the likelihood of having had such a discussion with a son.
Conclusions: Women's comparatively more conservative attitudes may be important if women are young people's primary source of reproductive health information. Future research needs to examine whether these adult perspectives directly affect adolescent reproductive health outcomes.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Family Planning Perspectives


Speizer, Ilene S.
Mullen, Stephanie A.
Amégee, Kodjopatapa