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Attitudes towards sexuality information for adolescents: what parents should and should not say

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The goal of this study was to investigate the attitudes of Colombians with respect to what can and what must not be said to young people of different ages and genders regarding sexuality. A convenience sample of 329 adults, aged 18–64 years, living in Bogotá participated in the study. They were presented with a set of 36 vignettes describing situations in which either a young girl or a young boy seemed to be concerned about sexuality and sexual relationships. Each scenario contained three items of information: the child’s gender, age and the parent’s decision (e.g. not to say anything regarding sexuality). Through cluster analysis, seven qualitatively different sets of attitudes were found. The five most common ones were: (i) it is never appropriate to talk about sexual matters (6%); (ii) delegate this responsibility to the school nurse (4%); (iii) provide incomplete information restricted to the biology of sexuality (11%); (iv) provide comprehensive information but with a recommendation of abstinence (28%); and (v) provide comprehensive information and a recommendation of pre-marital sexual experience (36%). Although it was expected that attitudes would vary as a function of the young person’s gender and age, such variations proved to be limited in their extent.
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Keywords: Colombia; Sexual education; adolescents; attitudes; young people

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz, Bogotá, Colombia 2: Department of Psychology, Jean-Jaurès University, Toulouse, France 3: Department of Ethics, Institute of Advanced Studies (EPHE), Paris, France

Publication date: September 3, 2019

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