DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS AND SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AMONG 10- TO 14-YEAR-OLDS IN NORTHERN UGANDA
There is a need for research on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) to further clarify the broader developmental context of very young adolescents who are generally neglected in SRH research in developing countries. Programs can then address these factors: (including quality of family, school, and peer relationships, commitment to learning, and various social competencies), thereby broadening valid intervention targets and increasing program effectiveness among vulnerable youth. In this study, cross-sectional survey data measured the extent of developmental assets (youths’ individual strengths and social relationships and opportunities) and concurrent SRH outcomes among a stratified random sample of 941 very young adolescents (10 to14 years old) in northern Uganda. We hypothesized that youth with higher levels of assets would have better SRH. Mean developmental assets level was barely adequate. However, as predicted, youths with higher levels of the assets were more likely to have accurate HIV knowledge, accurate condom knowledge, the ability to access SRH services, supportive relationships in which SRH issues can be discussed, and were more likely to have the intention of delaying sexual intercourse or using condoms. The asset–SRH health linkage was stronger for girls than for boys. The findings suggest a potential utility for promoting individual and social assets, such as positive relationships and opportunities, commitments to learning, and social competencies, as a strategy for promoting SRH among very young adolescents in a developing country setting.
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