The perspectives of adolescents were solicited on the issue of sexual and reproductive health messages they received through dancehall music as well as their perceptions of parents’ views of such messages and adolescents’ indulgence with this genre of music.
Methods: This sequential mixed methods study was completed in 2008. The study’s qualitative component was summarized as the novel ALODAC (Ask, Listen and Observe, Discuss, Analyse and Confirm) model, involving a series of steps to engage adolescents 10–19 years to share their perspectives on sexual and reproductive health messages enunciated in the dancehall music to which they listen. The quantitative component saw 1626 adolescents in public schools responding to an interviewer-administered questionnaire which included questions about their families and how they respond to dancehall content. Five messages determined from content analysis of songs on adolescents’ music menu were used to initiate discussions with adolescents about the issues.
Results: Almost equal proportions of respondents in the survey lived with either their mothers (37.3%) or both parents (35.6%). Most adolescents reported enjoying dancehall music and learning specific messages even when some parents were against use of such music. There were significant gender differences observed regarding perceptions about parents agreement with lyrics on transactional sex (p < 0.001), prevention of pregnancy (p < 0.01), condom use (p < 0.01) and multiple relationships (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Whether or not parents are in tune with the music their adolescent children listen to does not seem to affect the pleasure and lessons adolescents gain from this medium. Opportunities for discussing sexual issues common in Jamaican dancehall music exist but are missed.