The prevalence of risk behaviors among 4th and 5th form high school students in the Commonwealth of Dominica 2014

Wilhelmine Catherine Adrien, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

This cross-sectional study assessed the prevalence of substance use and risky sexual behavior by demographic characteristics among fourth and fifth form (equivalent to U.S. grades 10 and 11) high school students in the Commonwealth of Dominica (herein referred to as Dominica). The association between substance use and risky sexual behavior was also examined. There is a dearth of data for risky behaviors among Dominican adolescents. ^ A total of 274 fourth and fifth form high school students from eleven high schools in Dominica completed the 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) questionnaire. Schools were selected from the sixteen high schools on the island. The schools selected represented the four school districts on the island. The high schools also represented religious affiliations, gender specificity, private or public funding, and included both government and government assisted schools. Data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire. Main outcomes included substance use and risky sexual behavior. ^ Results from the Dominica 2014 YRBS indicated a high prevalence of risky behaviors among the 4th and 5th form high school students that were associated with chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A total of 274 students were surveyed; 145 were females and 129 were males; 144 were in the 4th form and 130 were in the 5th form. Eighty-four percent of the students surveyed reported that they had had at least one drink of alcohol on at least one day during their life, 68% had at least one drink during the 30 days before the survey, and 13.2% of those surveyed had their first alcoholic drink at 8 years or younger. Thirty-six percent of the students surveyed had tried cigarettes, and 12.8% of students smoked at least one cigarette during the 30 days before the survey. Thirty-eight percent tried marijuana at least once during their life, and 18.7% of students used marijuana during 30 day of the survey. Fifty-three percent of students surveyed have had sexual intercourse. Of those who have had sexual intercourse 21.5% had four or more partners, and 25.3% used alcohol or a substance before last sexual intercourse. Of those surveyed 10.8% indicated that they were 11 years or younger when they had sexual intercourse for the first time. Forty-two percent of those sexually active indicated that they or their partner did not used a condom at last sexual intercourse. ^ Results of bivariate analyses, indicated that lifetime alcohol, χ 2(1) = 13.331, p < .001; cigarette, χ2(1) = 27.039, p < .001; marijuana, χ2(1) = 56.233, p < .001 and other drug use χ2(1) = 2.594, p = 0 .107 respectively were found to be statistically significantly associated to having ever had sexual intercourse. Lifetime alcohol, χ2(1) = 4.213, p = .040; cigarette, χ2(1) = 6.361, p = .012; and marijuana use, χ2(1) = 12.138, p < .001 respectively, were statistically significantly associated to having ever had sexual intercourse with two or more people during their life. Marijuana use was found to be statistically significantly associated: χ2(1) = 6.117, p = .013 to the participant or their partner not using a condom at last sexual intercourse. ^ Results of this study give strong support for the government and other policy makers in the Commonwealth of Dominica to address tabled issues of substance use and risky sexual behavior among its youth. Increasing the legal ages at which one can purchase alcoholic beverages in the Commonwealth of Dominica and consent to sexual acts should be considered. There should be consideration for the implementation of curriculum-based interventions that have the characteristics of effective interventions at schools to reduce substance use and risky sexual behavior.^

Subject Area

Caribbean studies|Public health|Behavioral sciences

Recommended Citation

Adrien, Wilhelmine Catherine, "The prevalence of risk behaviors among 4th and 5th form high school students in the Commonwealth of Dominica 2014" (2016). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10127434.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI10127434

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