Jackson, J.; Leitch, J.; Lee, A.; Eggleston, E.; Hardee, K.
Jamaica: The Jamaica adolescent study - summary of final report
This longitudinal study explored the knowledge, attitudes and behavior of young adolescents in the areas of sexuality, reproduction and family planning in Jamaica. It also evaluated the impact of a school-based family education project on adolescents' reproductive knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Researchers followed a group of 945 young adolescents from the beginning of grade 7 to the end of grade 8. Study participants completed a questionnaire and participated in focus group discussions (FGDs). Using a multivariate analysis, survey results showed that students demonstrated a very low level of knowledge about reproductive matters, in contrast to the FGDs wherein adolescents appeared fairly knowledgeable about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The mean age at first intercourse was 12.4 years for girls and 9.3 years for boys. 65% of girls who had sexual experiences reported using a family planning method at first intercourse, while only 30% of boys used a contraceptive method at first intercourse. Most adolescents expressed negative attitudes towards adolescent pregnancy. The findings of this study indicate that even before they enter the teen years, these young adolescents' sexual attitudes and behavior have been shaped by sociocultural and gender norms imposing different standards of behavior for boys and girls.....