Sexual behaviour and knowledge among adolescents in Ireland
03 August 2009
14T16:36:01Z March 2013
Background: In the present study the reported sexual activity and aspects of sexual knowledge of adolescents in both rural and urban areas in Ireland was documented. Methods: A questionnaire was administered to secondary school pupils aged 14–19 years during 2003–04. Data were analysed using the software package SPSS version 15.0. Associations between boys and girls, younger (≤15 years) and older respondents (≥16 years), and students from urban and rural schools were measured using the χ2 statistic. Results: The findings indicated that over a third of respondents had experienced sexual intercourse. However, the consistent trend in all previous studies of a greater proportion of boys reporting that they had full sex was reversed in the present study, with a higher proportion of girls stating that they had experienced their sexual debut. With regard to sexual coercion, while only a tenth of boys reported that they felt pressured to have full sex, approximately a third of girls reported that they had at some time felt pressured. Boys manifested a poorer understanding of fertility than girls, with more than half believing that a pregnancy would not occur while a woman was menstruating. Conclusions: Endeavours designed to improve young people’s knowledge of reproductive physiology and the risks they pose to themselves by having sex without a condom need to be improved.
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