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Household structure and its association with sexual risk behaviours and sexual health outcomes: Evidence from a British probability sample survey

Curtis, TJ; Field, N; Clifton, S; Mercer, CH; (2018) Household structure and its association with sexual risk behaviours and sexual health outcomes: Evidence from a British probability sample survey. BMJ Open , 8 (12) , Article e024255. 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024255. Green open access

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Abstract

Objectives: Economic and social changes over the last twenty years have led to changes in the living situations of young people in Britain. A person’s home-life context might influence their sexual behaviour, with implications for their sexual healthcare needs; we investigated this hypothesis. Methods: Britain’s third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3), a probability sample survey undertaken in 2010-2012, interviewed 15,162 men and women aged 16-74 years in Britain (with 3,869 aged 16-24 years). We examined household structure by gender and age-group. We then focused on sexually-experienced young people (aged 16-24 years), and used multivariable models to explore associations between household structure, sexual risk behaviours and sexual health outcomes, independent of confounders including age, relationship status, employment, and area of residence. Results: Young people were most likely to be living with parents (women 57.1% (95%CI 54.5%-59.6%) and men 68.7% (65.4%-71.8)), or non-relatives (women 10.5% (8.5%-12.9%) and men 12.6% (10.1%-15.6%)). Among the 81.3% of young people who were sexually-experienced, compared with young women living with parents (reference category), those living alone or with non-relatives had a higher likelihood of reporting ≥2 sexual partners (adjusted odds ratio 1.54 (95%CI 1.03-2.31); 1.76 (1.03-3.00), respectively). Women living alone were also more likely to have had unsafe sex (2.04 (1.38-3.02)). Despite these differences in sexually transmitted infection risk, there was no difference in sexual healthcare-seeking behaviour. Young men and women living with partners reported lower levels of sexual risk behaviours. Conclusions: Our study suggests household structure may influence the sexual behaviour of young people in Britain. Given changes in their living arrangements, the role of household structure in sexual health research should be further investigated, and also considered as a possible marker for STI risk in clinical consultations.

Type: Article
Title: Household structure and its association with sexual risk behaviours and sexual health outcomes: Evidence from a British probability sample survey
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024255
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024255
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: sexual health, sexual behaviour
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10061287
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