Adolescent romantic relationships in a rapidly changing social environment

Hilal Özcebe, Hacettepe University
Sutay Yavuz, Ankara University
Ahmet Sinan Turkyilmaz, Hacettepe University

During the last decades Turkey has undergone significant social, economic and political changes that have a profound impact on its young people’s lives. Changes in its social life appear in areas such as extension of a free market economy, volatile economic growth during 1990s, continuing internal migration and urbanization, the liberation of social and political life, attempts of accession to the European Union, and globalization with its new social and cultural dimensions. This rapidly changing social environment brings about substantial difficulties and uncertainties as well as it provides new opportunities to young people. This study aims to learn about the experiences of adolescences related to having a boyfriend/girlfriend in Turkey. We intend to examine how the variations of having a romantic relationship experience are conditioned by adolescent’s individual and household level characteristics and by their opinions or attitudes towards more liberal social environment. The data we use to analyze stem from the 2007 Turkey Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health Survey (2007 TYSRHS), conducted with the collaboration of the Population Association and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The results show that males have a romantic experience at younger ages than females. However sharing the issue of having a boyfriend/girlfriend with someone is more common among female respondents. Both for females and males, percentage of the ones, who have had a boyfriend/girlfriend, is higher in the urban settlements; besides, it gets higher with the increasing levels of education and household welfare. The findings of analysis is discussed in relation to ongoing changes in social environments of adolescents in Turkey.

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Presented in Session 20: Sexual and reproductive health: adolescents