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La conducta riesgoza de la sexualidad: el rol de la religiosidad entre la juventud de escazos recursos en Brazil.

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Cerqueira-Santos, E. Universitas Psychologica, 15 4. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of religiosity and religious affiliation on sexual risk among young people living in poor social conditions in Brazil.


In addition, we investigate if religiosity plays a protective role in young people's sexual life, with specific regard to delay of first intercourse, condom use, and contraception. This is a cross-sectional study with participants, years old, from seven states of Brazil, who answered a self-administered questionnaire with questions in the school environment. We found an association between religiosity and lower odds of sexual debut. The group that have had already initiated sexual intercourse was not different on the sexual risk behavior.

Young people of low socioeconomic status in Brazil have the sexual behavior slightly influenced by religious norms. El grupo que ha tenido. Las relaciones sexuales ya iniciadas, no eran diferentes en el riesgo sexual.

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Among adolescents and young population this issue has a stronger harmful condition, once they are vulnerable to a double consequence: STDs and an early pregnancy. Moreover, the age of coital debut has some variation by other variables, such as gender, race, religion, and social class. Religiosity and sexuality are closely linked to each other, as mentioned by Lefkowitz, Gillen, Shearer, and Boone The objective of this study is to investigate the role of religiosity and religious affiliation on sexual risk among young people living in poor social conditions in Brazil. In addition, we investigate if the religiosity plays a protective role in young people's sexual life, with specific regard to delay of first intercourse, condom use, and contraception.

The definition of sexual risk behavior has been polemical in the scientific literature and has included variables such as age, of sexual partners, and protective methods condom and contraception. According to Li and colleaguessexual risk behavior involves the unprotected sexual intercourse and of partners. Xavierin an extensive review, discussed this definition and found that most international studies use only the condom use as an indicator of protected sex. Among HIV-infected Brazilian women, for instance, most were sexually infected by their stable male partner Paiva et al.

Additionally, only Among sexually active to years old, the percentage who use condoms consistently is higher, but not ideal Besides sexually transmitted infections STIpregnancy can also be an undesired consequence of unprotected sex.

In addition to the public health impact, early pregnancy frequently causes changes in the familiar dynamic and social life of the adolescent. Moreover, undesired pregnancy increases the episodes of abortion Pereira et al. Our main hypothesis is that more religious individuals are more likely to delay the first sexual intercourse. Moreover, as Bearman and Bruckner indicated, some differences can be found between different religious affiliations.

The authors found that American Catholics and fundamentalist Protestants were less likely to be sexually active than members of other religious groups. Young people can develop self-regulation mechanisms associated with spirituality and can avoid risky situations, such as sexual "temptation" or group influence Doswell et al. Whitehead argued that religious associations have a protective role during adolescence by reducing the risk exposure and leading adolescents to make healthier choices, such as abstinence. Whitehead analyzing a pro-abstinence religious program, found out that, despite a higher rate of abstinent youths in a religious group, the same young people were using condoms and contraceptives less in their first sexual intercourse.

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In this bidirectional association, religion also serves as a force of social control that provides negative consequences for sexual behavior. In this study we considered both religion affiliation and religiosity. The measure of religiosity has been criticized by the literature as simplistic, accessing only one dimension of religiosity, as attendance or faith. In this study we use a multidimensional short seven-item scale to measure religious identity, behavior, perception, and practice and also asked two additional questions about religious affiliation.

According to those theories, it is important to observe how human behavior is regulated in the main social model. Considering the social model as a rule, many institutions work towards an adaptation of the model school, family, church, etc.

In this study we investigate the association between religiosity and sexual behavior in a sample of poor Brazilian youth.

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Based on empirical studies, we predicted finding similar for a Brazilian sample:. Individuals with higher level of religiosity are more likely to be sexually abstinent, delaying first sexual intercourse through beliefs about negative outcomes of sex, so that more religious people will have a higher mean age for sexual debut. Between sexually active individuals, those who are more religious have a less protective behavior, such as condom use and contraceptive methods use, if they follow the religious prescriptions about their sexual life.

On the other hand, we expect to find higher sexual risk exposure among religious people or people with a higher level of religiosity. Based on the huge gender difference for sexual roles in the Brazilian "machista" culture, we expect to find an effect of gender for the influence of religiosity on sexual behavior. This study was conducted in schools in impoverished neighborhoods and non-governmental organizations of six Brazilian cities. The sample consisted of adolescents and young adults; for the current analysis, we focused on the respondents aged see demographic information in the section.

Neighborhoods in the bottom ten percent on two or more indicators were identified. With this list of low-income neighborhoods, ten of them were randomly chosen in each city. Lists of municipal and state public schools were obtained from the state and city Departments of Education and one school from each neighborhood was randomly selected for recruitment. Each of the ten schools was visited by study personnel who described the research goals and discussed data collection procedures.

Brazilian public schools offer three sessions morning, afternoon, evening that are attended by different groups of students, and data collection activities were distributed across the various sessions. The out-of-school sample was recruited through institutions identified by school personnel within the selected neighborhoods, and through contacts established during the research team's prior work with homeless youths.

Youths completed the questionnaire in groups during two-hour sessions supervised by trained graduate and undergraduate research assistants. The consent form was read aloud to inform youth about the purpose of the study, confidentiality procedures, and the availability of psychological services.

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The researchers then provided instructions on completing the questionnaire. Youths filled out the questionnaire individually; research assistants helped youths with physical disabilities or reading difficulties to complete the measures. Respondents completed a question instrument about five main domains in their lives. For this study we explored two domains: sexuality and religiosity. In addition, demographic data were collected. This domain was assessed by asking participants about their sexual experiences in their entire lives. We asked about sexual orientation, sexual debut, age at first sexual intercourse, condom use frequencycontraception methods, STI prevention, pregnancy, and sexual abuse.

One point was ased for each item. The sample was divided in three groups according to the level of religiosity: low, medium, and high Cerqueira-Santos, et al. The mean age was No participants reported 5 or 6 risk exposures.

Table 2 presents data comparing groups that had and had not had their sexual debuts. The groups formed by male, older participants, less religious, and homosexuals differ ificantly with the highest percentage for first sexual intercourse than their peers. There was no ificant difference for the groups by income and use of health center.

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For the sub sample formed by participants with sexual debut, a composite was calculated for sexual risk behavior based on three specific variables: condom use, pregnancy, and abortion episode. Table 3 shows the differences for the composite of sexual risk behavior and for specific sexual behaviors. A ificant difference was found in sexual risk behavior with higher proportions of males, younger participants, those earning less than minimum wage, and users of the community health service having higher risk behaviors.

Sexual orientation, religiosity, and religious affiliation showed no ificant difference in the composite of sexual risk behavior. For condom use, ificant differences were found with higher rates of condom use for males and adolescents. Regarding episodes of pregnancy, a ificant difference was found with the highest percentage for women's groups, youths, poor, and users of the community health service.

Only the women's group had a ificant difference with respect to abortions. Religiosity did not play a ificant role for sexual risk behavior, besides the ificance for sexual debut. Moreover, participants in the high level group of religiosity showed higher levels of sexual risk behavior and lower level of condom use.

Table 4 presents a logistic regression for sexual risk taking behavior. The explained variance of the final model was The final model showed a result with ificance for sex, age, and income as predictors for sexual risk-taking behavior. Being female, younger, and low income group are the stronger predictive variables for the sexual risk behavior. The mean age for the first sexual intercourse was lower than expected for the Brazilian population, which is 16 years old Ministry of Health, This finding is accurate with the prediction of lowering the age for first sexual intercourse and confirms the trend indicated by other studies Barbosa Junior et al.

We must consider that, traditionally, the index of self-affirmation as Catholics is higher, even if that religion is not actually practiced. Religiosity appears to be a factor delaying the sexual debut, but for the composite sexual risk behavior, religiosity presents no ificant influence.

As pointed out by Cerqueira-Santosreligiosity may be a protective factor in regards to the chance of postponing first sexual intercourse, however, after the sexual debut, adolescent and youths tend to behave similarly in terms of sexual risk exposures. As expected, age and sex are variables associated with risk behavior.

We must consider that the answers given by men and women may have a difference with respect to the kind of behavior, despite the questions being directed to both sexes. The association between income and risk is mainly related to episodes of pregnancy for the lower income group, corroborating the WHO statistics and the Ministry of Healthas well as the hypothesis presented by Waystaff, Delameth, and Havens that the impoverished population is more vulnerable to risky sexual behaviors.

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Likewise, the use of community health center correlates the risk with higher frequency for the group that went through an episode of pregnancy. A logistic regression showed that only sex, age, and income are ificant in the final model for risk behaviors. Overall, data suggest that young people of low socioeconomic status in Brazil have the sexual behavior slightly influenced by religious norms. This finding is consistent with part of the scientific literature in Brazilian religiosity, which points to a trend of youths being away from religious values Queiroz, In the dissonance caused between the expression of sexuality and religious recommendations, it appears that the subordination of religious morality has been most common among these youths.

According to Almeida and Monterothe way the religion is lived in Brazil, especially for the Catholic majority, makes the relationship between religion and private life more flexible. Thus, religious experience does not necessarily imply to follow behaviors norms and rigid rules of behavior, with some exceptions. This experience is created as idiosyncrasies, including ideas about sexual behavior and contraception.

Thus, Brazil creates an environment favorable to a possible reduction of dissonance between sex and religion, unlike the U. Almeida, R. Antunes, M. Antoniazzi, A. Washington, D.

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