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Family Support as a Mediator of Change in Sexual Risk-Taking Attitudes Among Orphaned Adolescents in Rural Uganda Image

Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Family Support as a Mediator of Change in Sexual Risk-Taking Attitudes Among Orphaned Adolescents in Rural Uganda

Summary

Prior studies demonstrated the effect of family-based economic empowerment intervention Suubi on reducing attitudes approving sexual risk-taking behavior among orphaned adolescents in Uganda. To understand mechanisms of change, the article examines the effect of Suubi intervention on family support variables and their role in mediating the change in adolescents' attitudes toward sexual risk-taking.

The Suubi study used a cluster-randomized experimental design with three waves, and included 283 orphaned adolescents from 15 primary schools in Rakai, Uganda. First, using mixed-effects models, the study tested for the effect of intervention on family support variables. Second, using mediation analysis, the study examined whether the change in sexual risk-taking attitudes was mediated by the chage in family support. 

Compared with adolescents from the control group, at wave 2, adolescents in the treatment group reported higher levels of percieved support from caregivers, were more willing to talk to their caregivers about their problems, and felt more comfortable talking about sexual risk behaviors with their caregivers. Meidation analysis demonstrated that the improvement in percieved support from caregivers are wave 2 accounted for 16.8% of the reduction in adolescents' attitudes toward sexual risk-taking behavior at wave 3 (z = -2.21, p <.05).

A family based economic empowerment intervention Suubi may have the potential to increase family support to orphaned adolescents. Interventions aimed at strengthening existing social networks and improving connectedness with surviving family members may be critical in preventing sexual risk-taking behavior among orphaned adolescents in Uganda, which is characterized by low resources. 



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