Objectives: This study sought to understand what sexual and reproductive health messages Jamaican adolescents get via Dancehall music and how themes in these messages can inform the development of a questionnaire for further exploration of the subject.
Method: Qualitative processes: key informant interviews, content analysis and focus group discussions were used to identify the themes heard in Dancehall songs to which adolescents listen. Adolescent investigators were utilized to enhance the communication flow among their peers while the adult investigator coordinated the analysis process. The data generated by each method were analysed manually and the themes used to inform development of a quantitative questionnaire for further study.
Results: Of 43 songs identified by key informants, twenty-five were short-listed as Dancehall songs as they having met the criteria for conveying sexual and reproductive health and relationship themes. Most themes were gender specific with male specific messages relating to sexual roles and behaviours, physical sexual attributes and performance and sexuality related violence. Female specific messages were about female behaviours in a sexual relationship, financial stability and independence in relationships and physical sexual attributes. All themes were confirmed through focus group discussions and additional information gleaned about how adolescents perceived the meanings and context of some expressions in the songs analysed. These themes informed the development of a questionnaire in both language and content.
Conclusions: Gender specific issues about sexual relationships and performance, physical sexual attributes and sexual violence were common themes identified in Dancehall songs listed by adolescents. Focus group discussions confirmed adolescents’ listenership to the themes and provided explanation of the perceived context and meaning of some messages.