IntroductionAdolescentspopulation aged 10–19 is estimated to be 1.2 billion or about20 % of the worlds’ population and an estimated 82 % of adolescents aged 19 andunder live with at least one sibling which is a higher percentage than livingin a household with a Father 78 %, among them more than two-thirds engage insexual intercourse before age 19 years (1, 2). Ethiopiawith an estimated 98 million population, 41 % accounts adolescents less than 19years old (3). Among thoseonly 12% adolescents’ visit, youth friendly service but the programs aregeneric which doesn’t recognize age and gender need. The massages also fail torecognize the distinct need of girls and boys at a different age which leavesthem to set a reference and lead their sexual life through perceptions of theirenvironment especially parent, peers, older siblings and significant others (4, 5).
Scholarsinterested in adolescent sexual behavior often have focused on the role offamily and friends as reference group, suggest that individuals actively usespecific persons as references when they shape their own beliefs and behaviors,older siblings are mostly the trusted choices and a key arrays that cantransmit beliefs about sexual activity and childbearing; provide informationregarding sexual activities, including safe sexual practices and even exertpressure to engage in sexual activities. (6-8).Siblingsimilarities in sexual behaviors are greatest for same-Gender siblings, asimilarity in age (less than two years), if there is modeling, intimacy, warmrelationships and when siblings share friends.
Beyond this older siblings mayplay a matchmaker role, introducing their brothers and sisters to partners whoare older and possibly more sexually experienced which leads them to anincreased sexual risk (9-11). Nonetheless,the magnitude of the sibling effect has varied among continents. For instance,in a systematic review of more than 200 studies on an adolescent sibling in theUnited States show, Adolescents with sexually active older siblings were 2.5- 6times more likely than other adolescents to be sexually active(12). In case ofAfrica, a summary of DHS from four sub-Saharan countries(Cameron, Chad, Ghana,and Malawi ) shows that girls born in families with male firstborn aresignificantly reduced (50%) to have premarital teen pregnancy as compared totheir counterparts in female firstborn families (13, 14).Althoughstudies agree in older sibling’s influence, Controversies arise in oldersibling’s role whether it is positive or negative(6). The majorityemphasizes how older siblings’ behaviors can negatively influence their youngersiblings’ sexual behaviors. On the other hand, some research highlights thepositive role of sexually active older siblings in directing their youngersiblings to safe sexual practice(9, 15).
Asan indicator of the extensive sexual and reproductive problems, Ethiopianadolescent age pregnancy rate is over 13 % and unwanted pregnancy is one of themajor challenges faced by adolescents in Ethiopia. As a result, about 54% ofpregnancies to girls under age 19 are unwanted. This leads to earlychildbearing and generates important socio-economic consequences that can shapeand alter the entire future life of an adolescent (5, 16-18). These indicators of sexuality andreproduction problems among adolescents in Ethiopia increase particulardevotion for in-depth analysis of the possible determinants of sexual behavior.
However,all existing studies on sibling’s effect have been conducted in U.S. andwestern, leaving a large gap in the literature about other world regions. Inall sub-Saharan Africa although a considerable body of research examines parentaland peer influence on adolescent behaviors, comparable data on sibling influence are more limited and in Ethiopia, as to my knowledge,there was no directly studied and published articles. So to address this gap,this study aimed to assess, the role of older sibling’s activities ininfluencing younger siblings own sexual behaviors.