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J Adolesc Health. 2012 Mar;50(3):228-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.06.008. Epub 2011 Aug 27.

Family support as a mediator of change in sexual risk-taking attitudes among orphaned adolescents in rural Uganda.

Author information

1
School of Social Work, Columbia University, 1255 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, USA. li61@columbia.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Prior studies demonstrated the effect of family-based economic empowerment intervention Suubi on reducing attitudes approving sexual risk-taking behavior among orphaned adolescents in Uganda. To understand mechanisms of change, the article examines the effect of Suubi intervention on family support variables and their role in mediating the change in adolescents' attitudes toward sexual risk-taking.

METHODS:

The Suubi study used a cluster-randomized experimental design with three waves, and included 283 orphaned adolescents from 15 primary schools in Rakai, Uganda. First, using mixed-effects models, the study tested for the effect of intervention on family support variables. Second, using mediation analysis, the study examined whether the change in sexual risk-taking attitudes was mediated by the change in family support.

RESULTS:

Compared with adolescents from the control group, at wave 2, adolescents in the treatment group reported higher levels of perceived support from caregivers, were more willing to talk to caregivers about their problems, and felt more comfortable talking about sexual risk behaviors with their caregivers. Mediation analysis demonstrated that the improvement in perceived support from caregivers at wave 2 accounted for 16.8% of the reduction in adolescents' attitudes toward sexual risk-taking behavior at wave 3 (z = -2.21, p < .05).

CONCLUSIONS:

A family-based economic empowerment intervention Suubi may have the potential to increase family support to orphaned adolescents. Interventions aimed at strengthening existing social networks and improving connectedness with surviving family members may be critical in preventing sexual risk-taking behavior among orphaned adolescents in Uganda, which is characterized by low resources.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01163695.

PMID:
22325127
PMCID:
PMC3279703
DOI:
10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.06.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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