Integrating adolescent girls' voices on sexual decision making in the Life Orientation Sexuality Education Programme
The aim of this research study was to find out how adolescent girls engage in the process of sexual decision making in order to make recommendations for the development and presentation of the current Life Orientation Sexuality Education Programme in South African schools. As the results of this study are aimed at providing guidelines for the development and presentation of this specific programme, a qualitative interpretive descriptive research design was used, because this type of research design could have application implications. Purposive sampling was used where data were gathered by means of group work and individual interviews with 75 adolescent girls from three diverse high schools in the Western Cape. Naïve sketches and researcher’s journaling were utilised to ensure triangulation and to enhance the trustworthiness of the study. Research results were analysed inductively to make sure that the results were truly a description of participants’ responses on the topic of sexual decision making and sexuality education. The results of this study indicated that adolescent girls’ sexual health is complex and that sexual decision making is impacted by a variety of influences from different contexts. Relationships with parents, teachers, other significant adults, peers as well as boyfriends impact sexual decision making in ways which encourage either sexual activity or sexual abstinence. It was also reported that the influences of different contexts like poverty, alcohol abuse at social gatherings as well as the media encourage girls to engage sexually. Participants furthermore reported on ways in which the current sexuality education programme fails and succeeds to meet their needs. They made recommendations on how to improve the sexuality education programme to make it more applicable to their lives. In general it was reported that adults are reluctant to discuss sexuality with adolescent girls which could put them at risk to a greater extent. This study recommends that teachers and prospective health promoting professionals can adapt a more positive approach to speaking about sexuality, as this could encourage girls to be proud of their sexuality and view it as an integral part of being human to take ownership of. When girls view their sexuality in this way, they might be less reluctant to allow their sexuality to be exploited. Furthermore it is recommended that girls’ self-regulatory behaviour needs to be strengthened in order to be able to respond to the demands of different contexts by means of internal loci of control rather than the current tendency of behaviour to be directed by external factors. By including adolescent girls’ voices in the development and presentation of Life Orientation Sexuality Education, it could result in a more comprehensive programme which understands and meets the contemporary needs of girls which could promote their sexual and general health and well-being.
- Humanities 
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