Developing Experimental Vignettes to Identify Gender Norms Associated With Transactional Sex for Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Central Uganda

Kirsten Stoebenau, NambusiKyegombe, Jeffrey B.Bingenheimer, Ismael Ddumba-Nyanzi, Josephine Mulindwaf Journal of Adolescent Health, 2019; Read the full article here

Transactional sex or informal sexual exchange relationships increase adolescent girls' and young women's (AGYW) HIV and pregnancy risk in sub-Saharan Africa. These relationships are grounded in the shared expectation that men should provide financial support to their partners. The authors in this paper built a vignette experiment to assess whether gender norms influenced by expectations of provision help to explain how transactional sex increases AGYW's sexual and reproductive health risks.

Findings

  • A higher level of male provision is associated with higher levels of perceived community approval for his sexual decision-making power and lower levels of perceived peer approval for AGYW's to seek a second partner.
  • Higher levels of male provision are associated with respondent's own approval of male authority and sexual decision-making.

Conclusion

Approval of men's sexual decision-making power increases when they provide more and that girls who seek a second partner find higher levels of social approval for this behavior when their primary partner provides less. Vignette experiments may be valuable for identifying social norms that put AGYW's sexual and reproductive health at risk.

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