School Context and Sexual Activity in Rural Malawi: A Mixed Methods Approach

Margaret Frye, University of California, Berkeley

This study uses a mixed methods approach to examine the relationship between school attributes and student sexual behavior in Balaka, Malawi. 38 in-depth interviews with teachers are linked to data on adolescent sexual behavior using Wave 1 of the Young Adult Families and AIDS Study, based on a random sample of about 2,500 youth aged 15-24. I use multi-level models to estimate net associations between school context and rates of sexual activity among students, and find that students attending schools with strict disciplinary policies concerning sexual relationships report lower rates of sexual activity. I also explore how the relationship between educational status and sexual behavior is mediated by partner characteristics, peer networks, attitudes about sexuality, and knowledge of AIDS. This study moves beyond the binary categories of in-school versus out-of-school to explore how being in school shape students' sexual behavior in rural Africa.

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Presented in Poster Session 7