To examine the association between patterns of out-of-school care over time and the initiation of sex among young adolescents living in low-income urban families.
A prospective cohort study (using a 16-month follow-up) examining the predictive value of changes in out-of-school-care arrangements on early sex initiation.
Setting and Participants
By using a multistage stratified area probability sampling strategy, we selected 494 subjects aged 11 to 13 years living in low-income central city neighborhoods who did not report having had sexual intercourse by time 1.
Main Outcome Measure
Adolescent report of having had sexual intercourse by time 2.
Bivariate results suggested that being at home with an adult during out-of-school hours was related to less sex initiation than self-care, care at another person’s home, and attendance at an organized/supervised activity. Adjusting for demographic attributes, parental monitoring, parental curfews, and family routines, remaining in out-of-home care or self-care was associated with a 2.5 times (95% confidence interval, 1.3-5.1 times) increase in the likelihood of initiating sexual intercourse when compared with being at home with an adult at both assessment times.
Policies and programs that enable young adolescents to spend their out-of-school hours at home with an adult may help reduce the risk of early sex initiation among youth in low-income urban areas.