Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Book
Title Schooling and adolescent reproductive behavior in developing countries
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
Publisher Millennium Project
URL http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/CBLloyd-final.pdf
Abstract
The rapid growth in school attendance and attainment rates in developing countries has meant that a rising proportion of young people are becoming sexually mature while still attending school, often while still attending primary school. Unprotected sexual activity carries with it risks to reproductive health at any age but most particularly during adolescence, because the risks of infection are greater when full physical maturation is incomplete, and the risks of pregnancy are greater at the youngest maternal ages and when the pregnancy is unwanted, which is often the case when a pregnancy occurs prior to marriage. This paper draws primarily on recent DHS data to document trends in schooling and adolescent reproductive behaviors among adolescents and then to explore the potential implications of rising school attendance rates for adolescent reproductive health. This exploratory analysis includes (1) comparisons of various aspects of adolescent reproductive behavior between students and the non-enrolled, (2) a review of the evidence on the links between school exit and marriage timing, and (3) an assessment of the relative contribution of schoolgirl pregnancy to overall pregnancy rates and dropout rates among adolescents. At this point any inferences drawn are suggestive rather than definitive; more research will be necessary on each of these topics before these relationships and their policy implications can be fully understood. The paper ends with a call for a greater collaboration between schooling and reproductive health experts in the research and design of interventions for adolescents given the growing interconnectedness of these two domains of adolescent life.

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