Determinants of heterosexual relationships and sexual behaviours among female college students in Tehran

Farideh Khalaj Abadi Farahani, Shahid Beheshti University
John G. Cleland, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Amir-Houshang Mehryar, Regional Center for Population Research and Studies in Asia and the Pacific

This paper is based on a mixed method study in 2005-6 aiming to investigate sexual conduct of female college students in Tehran. An objective was to assess social and individual factors responsible for variation in premarital heterosexual relationships and sex. This paper focuses on the survey conducted on a sample of 1743 female undergraduate students in four multidisciplinary universities in Tehran using a two- stage stratified cluster sampling. Nearly half of unmarried students(n=1400, mean age: 21.4) reported ever having had a boyfriend, more than one-fifth reported any type of sex (23%)and one-tenth reported sexual intercourse. Multivariate analysis showed that poor family atmosphere, strict parental control, liberal parent's attitude, pornography watching, alcohol consumption and perceived peers’ involvement in premarital relationships are predictors of ever having intercourse. Interventional programs need to consider the important role of family relationship, a balanced control over adolescents' behaviours, parents' values and peers' network in premarital sexual activity.

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Presented in Session 94: Children and youth