Development and validation of the sexual and reproductive empowerment scale for adolescents and young adults

Case Studies & Research
p. 86-94
Periodical title
Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 68, issue 1 (2021)

We developed and validated a measure that assesses the latent construct of sexual and reproductive empowerment among adolescents and young adults. A specific measure for this group is critical because of their unique life stage and circumstances, which often includes frequent changes in sexual partners and involvement from parents in decision-making. After formative qualitative research, a review of the literature, and cognitive interviews, we developed 95 items representing nine dimensions of sexual and reproductive empowerment. Items were then fielded among a national sample of young people aged 15–24 years, and those who identified as sexually active completed a 3-month follow-up survey. Exploratory factor analysis on responses from 1,117 participants resulted in the Sexual and Reproductive Empowerment Scale for Adolescents and Young Adults, containing 23 items captured by seven subscales: comfort talking with partner; choice of partners, marriage, and children; parental support; sexual safety; self-love; sense of future; and sexual pleasure. The Sexual and Reproductive Empowerment Scale for Adolescents and Young Adults is a new measure that assesses young people’s empowerment regarding sexual and reproductive health. It can be used by researchers, public health practitioners, and clinicians to measure sexual and reproductive empowerment among young people.

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