, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 277-285

First online:

Challenges in Measuring the Sequencing of Life Events Among Adolescents in Malawi: A Cautionary Note

  • Barbara S. MenschAffiliated withPopulation Council Email author 
  • , Erica Soler-HampejsekAffiliated withPopulation Council
  • , Christine A. KellyAffiliated withPopulation Council
  • , Paul C. HewettAffiliated withPopulation Council
  • , Monica J. GrantAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Wisconsin–Madison

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Using data from two rounds of the Malawi Schooling and Adolescent Survey, this research note examines consistency of retrospective reporting on the timing and sequencing of sexual initiation, school leaving, and marriage. The analysis, which compares reporting of events both within and between rounds, indicates substantial inconsistency in reporting of event sequences and highlights difficulties in measuring transitions to adulthood in sub-Saharan Africa with survey data.


Transitions to adulthood Longitudinal data Inconsistency of self-reports Malawi Sub-Saharan Africa