Seeking sexual health information? Professionals’ novel experiences of the barriers that prevent female adolescents seeking sexual health information

McKellar, Kerry, Little, Linda, Smith, Michael and Sillence, Elizabeth (2017) Seeking sexual health information? Professionals’ novel experiences of the barriers that prevent female adolescents seeking sexual health information. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health. ISSN 2191-0278 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2016-0118

Abstract

Objective: Sexual health professionals are key in implementing sexual health intervention programmes, yet their views are largely absent from the literature. Sexual health professionals provide a unique perspective on teen sexual health issues as they engage in confidential discussions with a wide range of teenagers. This study aimed to provide an in-depth exploration of professionals’ perceptions of teenagers’ sexual health information seeking practices and barriers. Furthermore, the research provided a unique re-examination of key predictors of risky sexual behaviours, which have been highlighted by previous research.

Method: Nine semi-structured interviews were undertaken with sexual health professionals to explore their perceptions of teenagers’ sexual health information seeking practises and barriers. Subsequently the professionals rank ordered the 57 factors identified in previous research in terms of their perceived importance in predicting risky sexual behaviours.

Result: Four themes emerged: “society and media”; “environment and family”; “peer influences” and “the self”. The rank order task confirmed that 33 of the 57 factors were perceived as highly important by sexual health professionals.

Conclusion: Society, peers, environment and family are perceived as barriers to teenagers seeking reliable sexual health information, but these are dependent on the individual person. An individual with higher self-esteem is more confident in seeking sexual health information and applying this knowledge appropriately. Self-esteem was also identified as a key perceived predictor of risky sexual behaviours. Therefore, there is scope for intervention programs targeting self-esteem and knowledge, so teenagers have the confidence to seek out sexual health information and to make their own informed sexual health decisions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adolescents; self-esteem, sexual health
Subjects: C800 Psychology
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2017 09:37
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2017 14:10
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/30105

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