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| February 10, 2016

International Journal Features Study of Very Young Adolescents in Uganda

An article published in the International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies (Vol 7 No 1), “Developmental Assets and Sexual and Reproductive Health Among 10- to 14-Year-Olds in Northern Uganda,” details the results of a study investigating ecological effects on very young adolescent’s (VYAs) sexual and reproductive health (SRH).

Authored by Peter C. Scales, Maura Shramko, and IRH’s Kim Ashburn, the article illustrates the extent to which developmental assets—including relationships, opportunities, values, and skills—affect SRH outcomes for this group. Although VYAs are in a critical developmental period, we know they are often overlooked by SRH programs; very little is known about these connections.

Nearly 1,000 young people in Northern Uganda participated in the study conducted by Search Institute and IRH, which compared individuals’ developmental assets (measured by the Developmental Assets Profile) with their SRH outcomes. Youth with higher levels of assets were more likely to have accurate knowledge about HIV and condom use, and were more likely to have relationships in which they could discuss SRH. The connection was even stronger for adolescent girls, who often lack the social assets of their male peers.

Generally applicable to VYAs in developing countries, the research identifies other areas in adolescents’ lives that can be targeted for intervention and lead to better SRH outcomes. As author Kim Ashburn explains, “Individual and social assets are important in promoting sexual and reproductive health for very young adolescents—both girls and boys—but especially for girls. These results help us see the value of building the capacity of schools, communities, and families in providing social support to young adolescents.”


Read the full article or download the PDF (Open Access) here.


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