Urbanization and Premarital Sex in the Philippines

by Nuela Orden Frias, Master of Arts in Demography (2000)

The study tried to analyze the interrelationship of PMS incidence, socialization and urbanization in the Philippine setting. It specifically aimed to examine how level of urbanization affects the socialization experiences of young Filipino adults and how these socializations experiences in turn impact on their engagement on PMS.

This study is a secondary analysis of the Young Adult Fertility Survey (YAFS II) which was undertaken in 1994. A total of 10,879 Filipino males and females aged 15-24 at the time of the survey served as respondents.

To operationalize level of urbanization, the respondents were regrouped into three categories, namely, metro cities and municipalities and rural barangay respectively accounting for high, moderate and low levels of urbanization. This variable only applies to the residential characteristic of the respondents during the time of the survey.

Results showed that young adults from metro cities are generally more liberal in outlook and actually engage in early sexual relations more than their counterparts from less urbanized areas.

The socialization experiences of the respondents differ according to level of urbanization. The socialization process of adolescents from highly urbanized area is characterized by high incidence of family disorganization, low level of family religiosity, high level of parental control and high exposure to all forms of media.

The peer, more than any other socialization agent, prominently registered the strongest impact on the values, norms and practices of the young regardless of level of urbanization. However, the family, the church and mass media were also influential in shaping the values and attitude of the young adults from urban cities and municipalities and rural areas.

Logistic regression analysis showed that for as long as the adolescent has more liberal attitude, is involved in high-risk behavior and goes out to date, he/she is at higher risk to PMS. In addition, the socializing agents that significantly impacts on the PMS involvement of the respondents, in order of importance, are the peer group, the family and the church. Among these, however, association with a sexually experienced friend figured out as the strongest risk factor to PMS. Its impact even becomes more significant when familial control over the young weakens.