Methods: Data and Sample – We utilized the 2014 Global School-based Health Survey (GSHS) of Bangladesh, a nationally representative sample of (n= 2,409) Bangladeshi students ages 11-17 years. Measures – The dependent variable was a yes/no dichotomous report of any lifetime history of having sexual intercourse. Based on the research questions and prior literature, we assessed the influence of three demographic factors (age, sex, grade), a psychological health factor (suicidality), and four social factors (social support, friendships, parental involvement, missing school). Dichotomous measures were used for respondents’ sex, suicidality history, having at least one friend, and past-month unauthorized school absenteeism. Age, grade, parental involvement, and school-based social support were measured as continuous variables. Analysis – Using survey sample weighting we provided univariate estimates of the lifetime prevalence of adolescent engagement in at least one episode of sexual intercourse, as well as estimates of other key independent variables. We then employed a logistic regression to identify and model predictors of engagement in sexual intercourse.
Results: We estimated that 9.11% of Bangladeshi students between ages 11 and 17 years have had sexual intercourse at least one time. It is also notable that approximately 30% had at least one past-month unauthorized absence from school. In examining predictors of sexual intercourse history, our findings indicate that male students were more likely to have sex (Female OR=0.254, p=.004), as were older students. Adolescents who missed school without permission to do so were also much more likely to have sex (OR=4.445, p<.001). Greater school social support, having at least one friend, nor a history of suicidality predicted sexual intercourse history. Higher grade level and parental involvement showed moderately negative relationships to history of sexual intercourse.
Conclusion and Implications: In identifying the considerable frequency with which adolescents have engaged in sexual intercourse, and considering the background of limited resources, we suggest the incorporation of culturally appropriate sex education for both males and females in schools as a preventative and proactive health measure. Implementation of sex education programs is also advisable in community settings given that adolescents who have sex are more likely to miss school than their counterparts and that parental involvement is a key factor in sexual activity.