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Open Access Research article

Effects of parenting practices on sexual risk-taking among young people in Cameroon

Estelle M Sidze1* and Barthelemy Kuate Defo2

  • * Corresponding author: Estelle M Sidze

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), P.O. Box 10787–00100, Nairobi, Kenya

2 Institut de Recherche en Santé Publique & Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Université de Montreal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, H3C 3J7, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:616  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-616

Published: 28 June 2013



There is scanty evidence regarding the impact of parenting practices on young people’s sexual risk-taking in sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, the extent to which such practices have enduring consequences on adolescents and young adults is little documented. This study uses repeated measures of parent–child relationships, parental monitoring, and parent–child communication about sexual matters to shed some light in these two areas.


The analysis is based on time-dependent retrospective data on parenting practices which were retrieved from the Cameroon Family and Health Survey (CFHS). The study sample includes 447 sexually active and unmarried individuals aged 15–24 years old. Correlation analysis and multivariate logistic regressions are used.


Young males and females reported high levels of parental monitoring, moderate quality of parent–child relationships and low levels of parent–child communication on sexual matters. This study substantiates that the higher the quality of parent–child relationships, the lower the odds of young males having multiple sexual partners (0.63, p < 0.05), and the lower the odds of young females being sexually active (0.52, p < 0.10) or of having multiple sexual partners (0.64, p < 0.10) or of having occasional sexual partners (0.51, p < 0.05). Living with the biological father only was associated with higher odds of having multiple sexual partners (3.21, p < 0.10) and higher odds of occasional concurrent sexual partners (3.26, p < 0.10) among young males. Compared with their out-of-school counterparts, young males still enrolled in school were less likely to be sexually active in the last 12 months (0.33, p < 0.05) and less likely to have occasional concurrent sexual partners (0.57, p < 0.10), whereas young females still enrolled in school were more likely to be sexually active (2.25, p < 0.10) and less likely to use contraceptive consistently (0.36, p < 0.001).


Reproductive health programs and interventions for preventing young people’s risky sexual behaviors in sub-Saharan African settings must take into account the protective effects of parent–child relationships and the significance of parental monitoring over time.

Parenting practices; Sexual risk-taking; Life course; Africa; Cameroon