The experience of puberty in adolescent boys: an Iranian perspective

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Abstract

Background:

The process of puberty is a normal physiological event for adolescents. Studies show that there is not enough knowledge about boys' puberty experiences. In spite of physiological similarities of puberty characteristics in different societies, social, cultural and religious factors have an important influence on puberty process.

Aim:

To begin to explore the experiences of adolescents and parents about puberty within the Iranian cultural context.

Methods:

Qualitative research was adopted using thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews carried out with 16 adolescent boys (13-17 years old) and 12 parents. All studies were transcribed verbatim and analysed.

Findings:

The analysis of the transcripts showed four main themes including shame and embarrassment, anxiety, transition, puberty orientation and management.

Conclusion:

Development of knowledge about puberty issues is important; additionally meeting health and educational needs of this transient period is one of the main priorities of the healthcare system and society. Knowledge of puberty is important for nurses and counsellors who work with adolescents for planning primary prevention programmes related to sexual health education and adolescent mental health.

Limitations:

Boy's embarrassment about describing puberty changes was a hindrance to their full engagement in the interviews; therefore in some situations the interviews were not as deep as was wished. This limitation is related to the subject itself, not the method used for data gathering.

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