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Sexting and high sexual risk-taking behaviours among school youth in northern Ethiopia: estimating using prevalence ratio


Background Increasing access to digital technology to young people in low-income settings has greatly influenced their porngraphy viewing and sexting, receiving and/or sending of sexual explicit materials via electronic devices. These change the sexual communication and behaviour of the young population. However, evidence to attest this change is not available in our setting. Thus, this study examined the relationship of high sexual risk-taking behaviour with sexting and pornography viewing among school youth in Ethiopia.

Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted from March to April 2015 by selecting school youth using a multistage sampling procedure. Data were collected using a pre-validated anonymous facilitator-guided self-administered questionnaire. Poisson regression was run to calculate adjusted prevalence ratio with its 95% confidence intervals. All differences were considered as significant for p values ≤0.05.

Results In total, 5924 questionnaires were distributed, and 5306 (89.57%) school youth responded in full to questions related to outcome variables. Of these respondents, 1220 (22.99%; 95% CI 19.45 to 26.96) were involved in high sexual risk-taking behaviour; 1769 (33.37%; 95% CI 30.52 to 36.35) had experienced sexting and 2679 (50.26%; 95% CI 46.92 to 53.61) were viewing pornography. The proportion of high sexual risk-taking behaviour was three-fold among pornography viewers (adjusted prevalence ratio (APR) 95% CI 3.02 (2.52 to 3.62)) and two-fold among sexters (APR 95% CI 2.48 (1.88 to 3.27)) as compared with their counterparts.

Conclusions Exposure to sexually explicit materials via communication technology is associated with increased high sexual risk-taking behaviour among school youth in northern Ethiopia. Considering these emerged predictors of sexual behaviours in our sexual education programmes, further research in this area is essential.

  • sexting
  • pornography
  • school youth
  • high sexual risk-taking behavior

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