Determinants of early sexual initiation in the Pelotas birth cohort from 1982 to 2004-5, Southern Brazil

Helen Gonçalves, Dominique P. Béhague, Denise P. Gigante, Gicele C. Minten, Bernardo L. Horta, Cesar G. Victora, Fernando C. Barros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE: To analyze social determinants of early sexual initiation among young adults from a birth cohort. METHODS: Individuals from the 1982 birth cohort (N=4,297) were interviewed in 2004-5, city of Pelotas, Southern Brazil. Early sexual initiation (≤13 years of age) was the outcome. Descriptive and stratifi ed analyses were performed according to sex. Variables analyzed were family income in 1982, ethnicity, young adult's level of education and change in income (between 1982 and 2004-5). Ethnographic data were used to complement result analysis. RESULTS: Prevalence of early sexual initiation was higher among black and mixed men, and those with low level of education and low family income in 1982 and 2004-5. More traditional male sexual role requirements, such as virility and sexual initiative, showed more repercussion and adherence from an early age among men. Young family women with higher income and level of education tended to delay their sexual initiation. Imposition of traditional values was found to infl uence early sexual initiation among men and women with lower level of education and income. CONCLUSIONS: Results found re-established the economic factor as a determinant of behavior or uses of sexuality for both sexes. To focus on political efforts that help the economically disadvantaged to have opportunities and egalitarian future perspectives is an important strategy for health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-41
Number of pages8
JournalRevista de Saude Publica
Issue numberSUPPL.2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Gonçalves, H., Béhague, D. P., Gigante, D. P., Minten, G. C., Horta, B. L., Victora, C. G., & Barros, F. C. (2008). Determinants of early sexual initiation in the Pelotas birth cohort from 1982 to 2004-5, Southern Brazil. Revista de Saude Publica, 42(SUPPL.2), 34-41.