Factors Associated with Underage Sex in Malaysia: A Secondary Data Analysis of Malaysia Global School-Based Student Health Survey 2012

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Yong Kang Cheah Hock Kuang Lim Chee Cheong Kee


Underage sex has numerous negative consequences, so the objective of the present study has been to examine all the factors associated with sexual behaviour among adolescents aged 13-18 years old in Malaysia. To do this, a nationally representative sample that consists of 25,399 respondents was used for secondary data analysis. The present study employs ordered logistic regression to analyse the probability of having multiple sex partners. The independent variables consist of demographic, psychological, and lifestyle factors. The present study is different in several ways from previous studies. First, the present study is the first study that uses nationwide data with a large sample size to study sexual behaviour among adolescents in Malaysia. Secondly, ordered regression was utilised to analyse the number of sex partners which differs from previous studies that used only binary regressions. Studies that used binary regressions, exclusively, were restricted in the scope of their analyses to the likelihood of participation in sexual activity. Thirdly, variables which were omitted from previous studies (i.e. suicidal behaviour and physical activity), are included in the present study for a more comprehensive analysis. The results suggest that gender, age, suicidal behaviour, cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, use of marijuana and physical activity are significantly associated with the number of sex partners. Males tend to have more sex partners than females; and there is a corresponding relationship between suicidal behaviour and the number of sexual partners an individual has. Adolescents who use substances are more likely to have a greater number of sexual partners than adolescents who do not use any chemical substances. Being physically inactive also increases the likelihood of having a number of multiple sexual partners. In conclusion, demographic, psychological and lifestyle factors play an important role in explaining sexual behaviour among adolescents. Findings of the present study are fairly consistent with those of previous studies and suggest that policies targeted at adolescents who are likely to have multiple sex partners may yield promising outcomes.



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Cheah, Y. K., Lim, H. K., & Kee, C. C. (2018). Factors Associated with Underage Sex in Malaysia: A Secondary Data Analysis of Malaysia Global School-Based Student Health Survey 2012. Journal of Population and Social Studies [JPSS], 26(4), 305-320. Retrieved from https://www.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/jpss/article/view/114795
Author Biography

Yong Kang Cheah, Universiti Utara Malaysia

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