Parental care status and sexual risk behavior in five nationally-representative surveys of sub-Saharan African nations

About 10 percent of children worldwide do not live with either of their biological parents, and although some of these children are orphans, many have living parents. While research shows that orphaned children in sub-Saharan Africa tend to engage in more sexual risk behaviors than their peers, possibly due to decreased parental oversight and support, it is unclear if these effects also apply to children separated from their living parents.

Exploring the question of whether living without parents, regardless of whether they are deceased, is linked to greater sexual risk-taking, this study is believed to be the first to examine correlates of parental care status in a multi-country, nationally-representative analysis. This study was a secondary analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys from Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Zambia.

Bmc public health