Barriers to parent–adolescent communication about sexual and reproductive health in Kinondoni, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study investigated the barriers to parent-adolescent communication on sexual and reproductive health in Kinondoni, Tanzania. The study was conducted under the assumption that parents and adolescents need to communicate regarding sexuality so as to promote young people’s sexual health as well as reducing their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infection and unintended pregnancy. This qualitative study, guided by Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological System Theory (1992), generated data through semi structured interviews and focus group discussions. A total of 30 participants (adolescents and their parents) were purposively sampled. The interviews were audio-taped and notes taken simultaneously. Data were analysed using thematic analysis approach. Participant’s verbal and written consent was obtained before conducting interviews. Confidentiality and anonymity was maintained throughout the course of the study. The results showed that communication on sexual and reproductive issues between parents and their adolescents is perpetuated by gender, in most cases mothers tend to communicate more than fathers. Moreover the research revealed that parents skip some of the topics due to fear that communicating them to their children would increase children’s curiosity hence engaging into sexual practices at early age. Furthermore parents seem to provide instructions and warnings as a way to send sexuality messages to their children, and consequently the latter depend on peers and media as their source of information for sexual and reproductive health. Peers can strongly influence teenager’s values and behaviours and thus increasing the risk of misconduct. Several other barriers were identified as constraining parent-adolescent communication about sexual and reproductive health. These include: parents feeling ashamed to talk about sexual and reproductive health matters, parents seem to be busy on income generating activities and spend less time with their children, inadequate or lack of sexuality information, religious beliefs and taboos. The study concludes that parents need to communicate with their adolescents on sexuality, because this communication promotes healthier sexual practices among adolescents. The paper recommends that, parents should be equipped with knowledge and appropriate skills to disseminate sexuality information to their adolescents.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HQ27.Y87)
Youth, Sexual behavior, Sexual health, Kinondoni district, Tanzania
Yusuf, A. (2015) Barriers to parent–adolescent communication about sexual and reproductive health in Kinondoni, Tanzania, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam