Relationship context of adolescent fertility in Ghana

Relationship Context of Adolescent Fertility in Ghana.pdf

Reducing the incidence of adolescent fertility in sub-Saharan Africa is a priority health and development goal, but little is known about the relationship context in settings where child marriage is rare.

Kirsten Stoebenau (ICRW-DC), Dr Elizabeth Asante (University of Ghana) and Dr Jeffrey Bingenheimer (The George Washington University) examine the influences of three partner type variables and four relationship process variables on the likelihood of fertility within adolescent girls’ romantic and sexual relationships in two communities in southeastern Ghana.

Partner type variables

  1. relative age
  2. school status
  3. employment status

Relationship process variables

  1. basic support
  2. auxiliary financial support
  3. power disparity
  4. emotional investment

Using data on 353 relationships, this poster contains three tables.

  • Table 1 presents the distributions of the seven independent variables, overall and by adolescent fertility status
  • Table 2 examines relationships among the independent variables
  • Table 3 presents the results from logistic regression models predicting adolescent fertility


  • 11.7% of the female respondents were categorised as having experienced adolescent fertility.
  • 71.8% described instances of adolescent fertility as events that “just happened” whereas 12.7% said that she wanted to get pregnant and 8.5% attributed the pregnancy to rape.
  • 45.1% reported that getting pregnant was the primary reason for their leaving school.
  • Greater power disparity was associated with increased risk of adolescent fertility.
  • Higher levels of emotional investment in relationships are associated with the partner being in school, the partner being employed, and receiving basic and auxiliary support from the partner.
  • Relationships with older and out-of-school partners are more likely to result in adolescent fertility.

Overall, these effects are partially mediated by two relationship process variables that increase the risk of adolescent fertility: basic financial support and power disparity.

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