Blog Post 3- Transactional relationships in Sub-Saharan African universities

Another under-looked contribution to student knowingly engaging in these transactional relationships is the family structure and family support in the life of the student. Many studies in Africa and globally have documented the influence of family structure on youth and adolescents’ outcomes, such as academic achievement, health and well-being, but less have been dedicated (especially in Africa) to how it effects youth sexual behavior. Studies have shown that parent-child communication and support are strong determining factors for adolescents and young adults’ sexual behaviors. However, the studies that have been conducted on this topic in relation to transactional sex have been mainly geared to women, often overlooking the fact that men can also be involved in these forms of relationships.

One study in Nigeria conducted across male and female university studies examined the relationship between family structure, family support and transactional sex. Conclusions drawn from this study indicates that a polygamous family structure is associated with a higher likelihood of engaging in transactional sex. Polygamy in Nigeria is important to study because a significant amount of the population is Muslim, and in Islam a man is permitted to take up to 4 wives. Individuals from a polygamous family were about twice as likely to engage in transactional sex compared to individuals from a nuclear family. While some students may indicate that they are from an nuclear family, there is a possibility that they not be living with either of their parents. This is a familial situation that happens often in Africa. Results from the study indicate that there is no evidence that living in the same household as one’s father and giving money, gift or favor in exchange for sex. However, there is evidence that living with one;s father reduces the odds for receiving money, gifts or favors in exchange for sex.┬áThe odds for giving money, gift or favor in exchange for sex was 47% lower for individuals living with their mothers compared those who do not. Also, the odds for receiving money, gift or favor in exchange for sex is lower among students who live in the same household as their mother relative to those who do not.

In conclusion, the study concludes that family structure and family support are indeed protective factors against transactional sec among university students, youth and adolescents.

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