Factors Risky to Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Caribbean

Factors Risky to Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Caribbean




Factors Risky to Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Caribbean


The use of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological system theory in order to understand the risks involved. In addition, protective factors were employed to characterize different behaviors of adolescents. Risk factors caused a negative outcome while protective factors produced positive health behaviors. Various systems were analyzed beginning with the microsystem whereby the relationship between an adolescent and the immediate environment was studied. In the mesosystem, interrelations between adolescents and people with positive influence in their lives such as teachers or parents were considered. Cultural beliefs were also included through the macrosystem. Finally, the changes that occur over time to form the chronosystem were also examined.


The participants were youth from the Caribbean of a specific age group. The countries involved were of different demographics ranging from Bahamas to Trinidad and Tobago. They all have a variety of cultures and occasionally undergo different climatic conditions.


Online searches of articles were first conducted with a use of broad terms to widen the scope of the search and some key words like adolescents were keyed in. Thereafter, the inclusion exclusion criterion was used in which the acquired data was sieved from a checklist. Consequently, sources that for example had a clear description of the format, number of samples selected and results obtained were retained while those that maybe for one reason or another the age could not be determined were discarded. This information was crosschecked against objectives of the study and here clear and concise questions like have you ever used a condom featured. Changes of trends that affect behaviors were roped in too.


The study showed that males were more prone to engage in sexual activity earlier in life than females although the latter showed willingness to use condoms more frequently. Older adolescents were more worried with contracting STIs and HIV but used condoms more consistently. However, just as Ingersoll & Ingersoll (1989) noted, having negative attitudes, for instance, anger and use of drugs increased the chances of an adolescent engaging in sexual activities with religion being the only significant deterrent. Similarly, youth who had a good relationship with their parents shied away from intercourse and one’s own environment increased the amount of peer pressure. In addition, urban youth perceived themselves differently from rural youth and horrible experiences in the past do contribute to bad behaviors.

Conclusion and Future Research

Various factors affect the overall development of adolescents and while some are because of societal expectations from them, others are self-induced (UNFPA, 2008). All these changes lead to adolescents acquiring different personalities and characteristics even if they come from the same geographical location. Since adolescents do not live in a vacuum, future research should zero in on the impact of the environment, especially technology in influencing decision making of adolescents. Other vulnerable youth like street children and orphans need also to be considered in future as well as those who have married at that relatively young age. This will give a clearer picture of how a holistic behavioral change occurs in an individual and could help explain why reactions to certain events vary from one person to another.



Ingersoll, G. & Ingersoll, G. W. (1989). Adolescents. Englewood Cliffs, N. J: Prentice Hall.

UNFPA. (2008). Emerging issues. Mental, sexual and reproductive health. Retrieved from

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