Adolescents' views on decision-making regarding risky sexual behaviour


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Abstract

PurposeTo explore adolescents' views regarding risky sexual behaviour who were aged between 13 and 19 years.MethodA purposive sample was drawn from adolescents who were participating in workshops, organized by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The sample consisted of a mix of in-school and out-of-school adolescents aged between 13 and 19 years. The overall aim of the workshops was to explore adolescents' views on decision-making regarding risky sexual behaviour. The educational status of participants lay between grades 0 and 12. A total of 24 focus group discussions were conducted, six in each of the four regions of Swaziland (Manzini, Hhohho, Lubombo and Shiselweni). Each group consisted of 6–12 participants. All focus group discussions were audiotaped and later transcribed.FindingsThe following four major themes emerged from content analysis: sexual behaviour, age at first intercourse, peer pressure and trust in the relationship. These were all found to be important factors in decision-making for risky sexual behaviours.ConclusionObtaining a sexual history, motivation to use condoms, guidance and counselling on ways to reduce adolescents' risk of sexual exploitation, and peer education programmes, are all of importance when aiming to reduce risky sexual behaviour.RecommendationAdolescents should receive positive reinforcement for responsible sexual behaviour including abstinence and, where appropriate, use of active birth control.

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