The Intersection of Migration and Sexual Initiation among Haitian Youth

Jessica Heckert, Pennsylvania State University

Substantial evidence links urban residence to earlier sexual initiation. However, this approach fails to acknowledge geographic mobility among youth. Migration and sexual initiation are deeply intertwined, both in their timing and motivations. To address this gap I examine how migration shapes sexual initiation and health among youth. I first draw on data from the Haiti DHS to conduct discrete-time event history analysis and parse out the effects of residence and migration. Findings reveal that among female youth, the point of migration, not simply residence or ever migrating is the strongest predictor of sexual initiation. Among male youth, ever migrating is the strongest predictor whereas the likelihood of sexual initiation decreases at migration. Second, to describe how youth experience these changes during migration, I draw on the Haitian Youth Transitions Study, which prospectively interviews youth. Preliminary analyses reveal that the migration processes is a critical component of change on these domains.

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Presented in Poster Session 6