Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Monica Swahn

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas Roblin

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Formal education in sub-Saharan Africa has been found to decrease the risk of HIV infection among youth. However, vocational skills training has been used as an alternative for youth to gain employment. Yet, little is known about the types of risk behaviors prevalent among youth who enroll in vocational skills training programs.

AIM: The purpose of this study is to examine risk behaviors such as alcohol use, lack of condom use, sex with multiple partners, and transactional sex among youth living in the slums who participate in vocational skills training. The relationship of personal characteristics such as hopefulness and participation in vocational training programs will also be explored.

METHODS: Analyses were conducted using survey data based on a cross-sectional study of youth ages 12-18 years (N=1134), living in the slums of Kampala, that were surveyed in the Spring of 2014. The study sample included youth who had at least some formal education or higher and were compared to youth who had at least some formal education and participated in vocational skills training (N=1059). Alcohol use, lack of condom use, sex with multiple partners, and engaging in transactional sex were the primary risk factors of interest. Five multivariable logistical regression models were used to examine the risk behaviors and hopefulness in its associated with youth who participated in vocational skills training. Multivariable analysis stratified by gender was also conducted.

RESULTS: Youth who participated in vocational skills training had completed primary education (62%) and were predominately female (80%). Youth who participated in vocational skills training were less likely to report alcohol use (AOR 0.38; 95% CI 0.20, 0.70) and more likely to report feeling hopeful often (AOR 1.73; 95% CI 1.07, 2.97).

DISCUSSION: Youth participation in vocational training is association with youth being less likely to use alcohol and youth feeling hopeful often compared to youth who do not participate in vocational training. Vocational skills training may be a viable strategy for reducing some risk behaviors. However, further research on this group and strategy for risk reduction is needed to assess the impact of these programs on youth behaviors.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 30, 2019

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