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The role of parents in promoting sexual health among young people in South Africa

The role of parents in promoting sexual health among young people in South Africa
The role of parents in promoting sexual health among young people in South Africa
Debates on risk avoidance have continued to emphasise the role of communication with parents, partners and peers to promote safer sex (Widman et al. 2014). However, one of the most challenging issues in understanding adolescent sexual behaviour is the absence of communication in sexual relationships as well as the kind of information young people receive from their parents. A better understanding of parent-child communication can be helpful in identifying and developing HIV and STI prevention interventions for young people, with the parents becoming a significant contributor in the sexual education of their children.

The overall research objective was to establish the role of parents in promoting sexual health among young people in South Africa and to gather information on how best parent-child communication can be enhanced. Using triangulation methods four objectives were considered: (i) to investigate the extent of parent-child communication and factors associated with parent-child communication; (ii) to determine whether parent-child communication about sexual and reproductive health issues helps to reduce risky sexual behaviours?; (iii) to understand the context through which parent-child communication takes place within South Africa; and (iv) to review selected interventions and programmes on parent-child communication so as to recommend improvements for developing other interventions.

Findings show that parent-child communication in South Africa is high with parents reporting more communication than their children. General topics were discussed more by adolescents whereas parents reported more discussions on sexual risk topics. Age, gender and ethnicity were statistically significant. Mothers, daughters, older adolescents and non-Africans were significantly more likely to have discussions on parent-child communication. Parent-child communication was significant by gender and ethnicity but not age.

With regards to sexual behaviour and parent-child communication, a general finding for males and females for the three parent-child communication scales (global, sexual risk and general communication) and ever had sex was non-existent, except among females where parent-child risky sexual communication was positively correlated with ever had sex. Age was a significant variable for both males and females in all the communication topics. On the contrary, the relationship between the three communication scales and risky sex was significant for sexual risk communication and general communication. Both males and females were less likely to engage in risky sex if they had discussed sexual risk and general topics. Even after all the controls were considered, the relationship between sexual risk communication and risky sex remains statistically significant except for males.

The qualitative results showed that even though young people would like to receive information from their parents, this was rare. However, both parents and adolescents believed that parents were the best source and thus interventions to promote such conversations were necessary. Indeed, this is shown by the review of interventions and programmes on parent child communication, whereby the involvement of parents promoted communication and thus further research should be undertaken to enhance existing programmes and identify strategies that will promote parent-child communication.
University of Southampton
Manzini, Nontsikelelo Ingrid
91b04733-2fe2-46d7-aa33-c529334d2b65
Manzini, Nontsikelelo Ingrid
91b04733-2fe2-46d7-aa33-c529334d2b65
Ingham, Roger
e3f11583-dc06-474f-9b36-4536dc3f7b99
Mcgrath, Nuala
b75c0232-24ec-443f-93a9-69e9e12dc961

Manzini, Nontsikelelo Ingrid (2017) The role of parents in promoting sexual health among young people in South Africa. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 385pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Debates on risk avoidance have continued to emphasise the role of communication with parents, partners and peers to promote safer sex (Widman et al. 2014). However, one of the most challenging issues in understanding adolescent sexual behaviour is the absence of communication in sexual relationships as well as the kind of information young people receive from their parents. A better understanding of parent-child communication can be helpful in identifying and developing HIV and STI prevention interventions for young people, with the parents becoming a significant contributor in the sexual education of their children.

The overall research objective was to establish the role of parents in promoting sexual health among young people in South Africa and to gather information on how best parent-child communication can be enhanced. Using triangulation methods four objectives were considered: (i) to investigate the extent of parent-child communication and factors associated with parent-child communication; (ii) to determine whether parent-child communication about sexual and reproductive health issues helps to reduce risky sexual behaviours?; (iii) to understand the context through which parent-child communication takes place within South Africa; and (iv) to review selected interventions and programmes on parent-child communication so as to recommend improvements for developing other interventions.

Findings show that parent-child communication in South Africa is high with parents reporting more communication than their children. General topics were discussed more by adolescents whereas parents reported more discussions on sexual risk topics. Age, gender and ethnicity were statistically significant. Mothers, daughters, older adolescents and non-Africans were significantly more likely to have discussions on parent-child communication. Parent-child communication was significant by gender and ethnicity but not age.

With regards to sexual behaviour and parent-child communication, a general finding for males and females for the three parent-child communication scales (global, sexual risk and general communication) and ever had sex was non-existent, except among females where parent-child risky sexual communication was positively correlated with ever had sex. Age was a significant variable for both males and females in all the communication topics. On the contrary, the relationship between the three communication scales and risky sex was significant for sexual risk communication and general communication. Both males and females were less likely to engage in risky sex if they had discussed sexual risk and general topics. Even after all the controls were considered, the relationship between sexual risk communication and risky sex remains statistically significant except for males.

The qualitative results showed that even though young people would like to receive information from their parents, this was rare. However, both parents and adolescents believed that parents were the best source and thus interventions to promote such conversations were necessary. Indeed, this is shown by the review of interventions and programmes on parent child communication, whereby the involvement of parents promoted communication and thus further research should be undertaken to enhance existing programmes and identify strategies that will promote parent-child communication.

Text
Nontsikelelo Manzini Final thesis - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only until 27 June 2021.
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.

More information

Published date: March 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 427744
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427744
PURE UUID: 4dace060-3b0b-4a94-bbc1-5b6a8697992d
ORCID for Nuala Mcgrath: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1039-0159

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Jan 2019 17:30
Last modified: 24 May 2019 00:31

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Contributors

Thesis advisor: Roger Ingham
Thesis advisor: Nuala Mcgrath ORCID iD

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