The Relationship Context of Adolescent Fertility in Southeastern Ghana

Jeffrey Bingenheimer, George Washington University
Kirsten Stoebenau, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Elizabeth Asante, University of Ghana

Reducing the incidence of adolescent fertility in sub-Saharan Africa is a priority health and development goal, but little is known about the relationship context of adolescent fertility in settings where child marriage is rare. In this paper we examine the influences of three partner type variables (relative age, school status, and employment status) and four relationship process variables (basic and auxiliary financial support, power disparity, and emotional investment) on the likelihood of fertility within adolescent girls’ romantic and sexual relationships in two periurban communities in southeastern Ghana. Using data on 353 relationships described by female participants in a longitudinal study of adolescents, we find that relationships with older (OR=1.81) and out-of-school (OR=2.00) partners are more likely to result in adolescent fertility. These effects are partially mediated by two relationship process variables that increase the risk of adolescent fertility: basic financial support (AOR=5.51) and power disparity (AOR=1.52).

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health