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This paper reports on a pilot study of the development and evaluation (using outcome and process measures) of a manualised participatory risk reduction programme, aimed at reducing high-risk sexual behaviour amongst tertiary level learners, called 'Sex and Risk' (S&R), at the University of Durban-Westville 1 in South Africa. The programme was grounded in a focused ethnographic study of the risk behaviours and life context of tertiary level learners at this institution, as well as informed by literature on successful behavioural risk reduction programmes on Western and African populations. Significantly, the S&R programme was shown to facilitate greater awareness in males of how social influences inform high-risk sexual behaviour. This greater awareness did not, however, translate into greater self-efficacy in relation to negotiating safer sexual relationships for either males or females and was attributed to the dominant social norms, which promote and sustain gender inequity that places the sexual health of young women and men at risk. Given that the S&R programme operates largely at the level of the individual, although it does address the subjective aspects of social influences on behaviour, these findings highlight the need for proximal situation-centred interventions, which promote more egalitarian social norms in sexual relationships, to accompany such curriculum interventions at tertiary institutions.
School of Psychology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Private Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa 2:
Child, Youth and Family Development, Human Sciences Research Council, Private Bag X07, Dalbridge 4014, Durban, South Africa
Publication date: May 1, 2004
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