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Sexual and reproductive health and attitudes towards sex of young adults in China


Background The study aimed to discuss the importance of socioeconomic status (SES) and family sexual attitudes and investigate their association with sexual and reproductive health in a large sample of Chinese young adults.

Methods We analysed a large sample of 53 508 youth aged 15–24 years from an internet-based survey from November 2019 to February 2020. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were employed to examine the association between SES, family sexual attitudes, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH), stratified by sex and adjusting for potential confounders.

Results Individuals with the highest expenditure were more likely to engage in early sexual intercourse (female: OR 4.19, 95% CI 3.00 to 5.87; male: OR 3.82, 95% CI 2.84 to 5.12). For both sexes, the likelihood of young adult sexual risk-taking such as first intercourse without using a condom, acquiring sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy was lower in those with higher maternal educational attainment, whereas it was higher in those with open family sexual attitudes.

Conclusions Lower SES and open family attitudes toward sex had a significant association with a range of adverse young adulthood SRH outcomes. Public health policies should focus on more deprived populations and advocate suitable parental participation to reduce risky sexual behaviours in youth.

  • reproductive health
  • sexual behavior
  • health education

Data availability statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available on reasonable request from the corresponding author (KT). The data are not publicly available due to research ethics board restrictions.

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