Objective: This report examines early sexual debut (< age 15 years) among 15-year old in-school adolescents in six Caribbean countries.
Subjects and Methods: The total sample included 9948 school children aged primarily 13–16 years from nationally representative samples from six Caribbean countries. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to assess the relationship between early sexual debut and substance use, unintentional injuries and violence, mental distress, physical activity, protective factors and socio-economic status variables.
Results: Approximately one-fourth of the sample (26.9%) had experienced sexual debut before age 15 years, 37.2% among boys and 16.9% among girls. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, it was found that male gender, substance use (smoking and alcohol use), having been in a physical fight in the past 12 months, sedentary behaviour, truancy and lack of parental or guardian attachment were associated with early sexual debut.
Conclusion: The study found a high prevalence of early sexual debut. The risk factors identified were consistent with the Problem Behaviour Theory, which can be incorporated into broader sexual health promotion programmes.