INTRODUCTION: This study aimed to investigate the determinants of sexual intercourse initiation among incarcerated adolescents aged 12-19 years in Malaysia.
METHODS: This was a sequential mixed-method research project that was conducted in two phases. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used in the first and second phases, respectively. Data was collected via a survey using self-reported questionnaires from 1,082 adolescents, and from in-depth interviews and the written essays of 29 participants. The participants were recruited from 22 welfare institutions in peninsular Malaysia.
RESULTS: Among the study participants, 483 were male and 599 were female. Overall, 62.3% of the incarcerated adolescents had initiated sexual intercourse at least once. The mean age at first sexual intercourse for both genders was 14.0 years. Individual factors found to be associated with previous sexual intercourse were the female gender (odds ratio [OR] 1.75; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.11-2.74), previous alcohol use (OR 1.80; 95% CI 1.10-2.94), previous illicit drug use (OR 1.85; 95% CI 1.07-3.22), permissive attitude toward premarital sex (OR 4.34; 95% CI 2.17-8.70), and sexual abuse during childhood (OR 5.41; 95% CI 3.52-8.32). Qualitative findings revealed that the reasons for initiation of sexual intercourse among these adolescents were partner influence, inability to control sex drive, family issues, and the perception of sex as an expression of love.
CONCLUSION: The determinants of sexual intercourse initiation among incarcerated Malaysian adolescents are comparable to those of developed countries. However, in Malaysia, sexual and reproductive health programmes for such adolescents should be tailored to address their specific needs.
INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to determine the association between sexual abuse, substance abuse and socio-demographic factors with suicidal ideation (SI), plans (SP) and deliberate self-harm (DSH) and propose steps to prevent youth suicidal behavior.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study of 6786 adolescents aged 17-18 years, selected randomly from all Malaysian adolescents to undergo compulsory youth camps located in Selangor, Malaysia (2008-2009). Participants were assessed using self-administered questionnaires developed to reflect the local cultural setting. However, only 4581 subjects were analyzed after excluding incomplete data.
RESULTS: The rates of SI, SP and DSH were 7.6%, 3.2% and 6.3%, respectively. The multivariable-adjusted odds ratio showed that sexual abuse was associated with SI 1.99 (95% CI: 1.56-2.55), SP 1.57 (95% CI: 1.09-2.27) and DSH 2.26 (95% CI: 1.75-2.94); illicit drug use was associated with SI 4.05 (95% CI: 2.14-7.67), SP 2.62 (95% CI: 1.05-6.53) and DSH 2.06, (95% CI: 1.05-4.04); for alcohol use DSH was 1.34 (95% CI: 1.00-1.79). Being female was associated with all suicidal behaviors: SI 2.51 (95% CI: 1.91-3.30), SP 2.07 (95% CI: 1.39-3.08) and DSH 1.59 (95% CI: 1.19-2.11).
DISCUSSION: Given the well-founded concern of increasing risk of suicidal behavior among youth, preventive efforts should adopt a more comprehensive approach in dealing with sexual abuse and substance abuse, and their sequelae, especially in girls.
KEYWORDS: adolescent; risks; sexual abuse; substance abuse; suicidal behavior