Determinants of Adolescent Fertility in Contemporary Yoruba Society: A Multivariate Analysis

By Oyefara, John Lekan | Gender & Behaviour, December 2011 | Go to article overview

Determinants of Adolescent Fertility in Contemporary Yoruba Society: A Multivariate Analysis


Oyefara, John Lekan, Gender & Behaviour


Abstract

Adolescent childbearing has received much attention in the past three decades, but the socio-cultural determinants of this phenomenon remain inexplicitly explained in Yoruba society. Therefore, this paper examined the determinants of adolescent fertility using multivariate analysis and Osun State, Nigeria as study location. Quantitative and qualitative research methods were used to achieve this objective. Two Local Government Areas (LGAs), Osogbo (urban) and OlaOluwa (rural), of Osun State were purposively selected based on rural/ urban dichotomy. The quantitative method involved cross-sectional survey of 1,000 women of reproductive age (15-49 years). To be eligible, respondent must have at least a child. A multi-stage random sampling technique was adopted to select the respondents. For the qualitative method, 10 In-depth Interviews were conducted with adolescent mothers, their mothers and opinion leaders in the LGAs. Statistical technique used in the analysis of quantitative data was logistic regression, while content analysis technique was used to analyze qualitative data. Findings showed that educational level, parental marital disruption, marital status, and nature of activity which adolescent girls were doing are significant determinants of adolescent fertility in the study location. In conclusion, concerted efforts need to be put together by all the stakeholders (community members, opinion leaders, gatekeepers, governments, private organizations, non-governmental organizations and community based organizations) to improve the existing educational structure in the study location. In addition, appropriate policies and intervention programmes need to be put in place to reduce the incidence of marital disruption and adolescents must be fully engaged in productive social and economic activities.

Key words: Adolescent, Fertility, Education, Marital disruption, Yoruba Society, Nigeria.

Introduction

Early childbearing, particularly among adolescents, has negative demographic, socio-economic, and socio-cultural consequences. Adolescent mothers are more likely to suffer from severe complications during delivery, which result in higher morbidity and mortality for both themselves and their children. In addition, the socio-economic advancement of adolescent mothers in the areas of educational attainment and accessibility to job opportunities may be curtained (NPC, 2004:59). As Nafis Sadik, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), had put it in 1996, "... adolescent fertility worldwide continues to be a roadblock to girls' and women's educational achievement, their status and their full participation in society." (cited in McDevitt et al. 1996:2). These potential demographic, socio-economic and socio-cultural consequences have made many scholars to focus special attention on the determinants, socio-economic correlates and consequences of adolescent childbearing in different countries and continent of the world.

In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, many studies (for example, Makinwa-Adebusoye, 1991a; Oyekanmi, 1999a) have been conducted on adolescent sexuality and reproductive health behaviour. These studies and many others established the high prevalence rate of sexual networking and associated reproductive health problems such as unwanted pregnancies, induced abortions and fertility among adolescent girls in the country. Evidence also abounds about the socio-cultural and economic correlates of the levels and patterns of adolescent fertility in Nigeria (NPC, 2000; NPC, 2004). In fact, the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) of 1999 and 2003 revealed that adolescent fertility level varies greatly in Nigeria in accordance with different socio-economic, cultural and environmental background characteristic of the people in the country. These include adolescent marital status, place of residence (rural and urban), educational level, age at first marriage, and more importantly, the region of the country where the adolescent girl is living - North Central, North East, North West, South East, South South or South West (NPC, 2000; 2004). …

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