Sexual Health and Young People

Sexual Health and Young People


Sexual health education for teenagers is one of the most hotly debated and emotional issues confronted by programme planners, and educator. Arguments have flared on how explicit education material should be, how much there should be, how often it should be given, and from what age should be initiated. After all the investment in such educational programs teenagers still engage in risk behaviour. Several studies were conducted to understand why teenagers engage in risk behaviours and to identify the best theoretical approaches in designing successful sexual health programmes.

Theoretical approaches

The aim of sexual health education programmes is to promote delaying the age of starting sexual activity, to reduce the numbers of unplanned or unwanted pregnancies among teenagers, to reduce the incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and to promote respect for self and others. Several theories were believed to constitute the best approaches in developing models of sexual health programmes to prevent sexual risk behaviour and even to investigate possible factors that could predict the implication in such risk behaviours.

The Theory of Reasoned Action

The Theory of Reasoned Action was elaborated by Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen (1975, 1980), adopted from previous research that initially has been considered as the theory of attitude and resulted from the study of attitude and behaviour. The theory of reasoned action is a model for the prediction of behavioural intention, incorporating predictions of attitude and predictions of behaviour. Sheppard et al. (1988) outline the existence of three limiting conditions regarding the usage of attitudes and subjective norms to predict intentions and the usage of intentions to predict the performance of behaviour:   goals vs. behaviours, choice between alternatives and intentions vs. estimates: when what one intends to do and what one is...