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Sexual knowledge and attitudes of adolescents in Kiribati

Seniloli, Kesaia L. (2003) Sexual knowledge and attitudes of adolescents in Kiribati. [Professional and Technical Reports]

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Abstract

The study examines adolescents' knowledge, attitudes and behavior in the areas of sexuality, fertility and family formation. The aim of the study is to document, nationwide, information that will contribute to the formulation of appropriate policies and effective programs to address adolescent needs in the area of sexuality, sexual behavior and their consequences. The sample comprised 179 males and 225 females between the ages of 13 and 19, all resident in Kiribati at the time of the survey. The distribution of the sample reflects the national distribution of the population. A multistage sampling procedure was employed to produce the desired sample size. A questionnaire was administered to each respondent. The study found that young people of Kiribati had little factual information about the menstrual cycle and its significance, the fertile period and pregnancy. Sex education appears to have no impact on the level of awareness of young people. Though few young people claimed to have experienced coitus, the findings are interesting despite the suspiciously low numbers.The mean age at first coitus for girls is about 14 years and for boys 15. Most had their first sexual encounter on the beach, pointing to the need for parental supervision. A significant proportion of those who were sexually active have had more than three partners, a significant health risk exposure. The findings are all the more interesting because this is a society that still carries out a virginity test as part of the wedding ceremony. Data also show the low level of young people's knowledge about contraception. Social disapproval is a major factor in adolescents' not seeking family planning information. Services are geared to older married women. It appears schools and parents do very little in this area. There also appears to be very little communicaion between young people and parents about contraceptive use and sexual responsibilities. Knowledge about sexually transmitted infections is almost non-existent, whether concerning their symptoms, mode of transmission or means of avoidance. Such level of ignorance leave the people of Kiribati particularly exposed to disease transmission from overseas.There is much to be done by the Ministry of Health and Education Department in raising awareness among young people of the risks, symptoms to watch for and means of avoidance. Data reveal the disturbing level of ignorance on sexual and reproductive health. In addition many young people consult no one at all about their problems. Apparently there is no guidance in this area - or little except rather negative please for good behavior from the Church, parents and school. There is great need for support for young people as they develop life skills such as behaving responsibly, making informed choices and managing intimate relationships.

Item Type: Professional and Technical Reports
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Economics
Depositing User: Kesaia Seniloli
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2016 15:36
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2016 15:36
URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/8724
UNSPECIFIED

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