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Competition for Adolescents’ Sexual and Reproductive Health Values Is the Media Winning?



Objective: This study aimed to understand the sources and content of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information among Jamaican adolescents.

Subjects and methods: A national survey of adolescents 9–18 years old attending public schools in Jamaica was done using multi-stage stratified cluster sampling techniques. Questions included in a 57-item questionnaire assessed adolescents’ awareness of SRH messages promoted by the Ministry of Health (SSRHM) and through Dancehall, (DSRHM). The data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 12.0. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data and relationships between variables tested using bivariate analysis, with a ‘p’ value of 0.05 accepted as significant.

Results: The mean age of respondents was 12.8 (± 2.06) years for boys and 12.8 years (± 2.23) for girls. Television (76.9%), radio (55.4%) and guidance counsellors (55.2%) were the most common sources of SSRHM with no statistically significant demographic differences. Condom use was the only SSRHM, among the seven assessed, that was reported by more than half of the respondents (85.4% boys and 80.3% girls, p = 0.025). Half the number of the male specific DSRHM assessed was reported by more than 50% of boys. Hurting men who have sex with men, and having many girlfriends were the leading messages reported (69.8% & 65.3%). Among girls, five of nine female-related DSRHM were reported by most girls. Having relationships with males who have material resources (66.8%) and being independent (64%) were the leading messages reported.

Conclusions: The electronic media was the leading source of SSRH messages and condom use was the only SSRHM that outstripped the variety of gender specific DSRH messages, some of which contradict standard messages.

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e-Published: 19 Sep, 2013
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