Perceptions of first-year students regarding engaging in sexual behaviours at a university campus

Qinisile, Nomawethu Patricia (2013-03)

Thesis (MCurr)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The university environment provides many opportunities to be sexually active. University students are reported as tending to engage in high-risk behaviours related to sex, alcohol and drugs. First-year university students are reported to be most vulnerable, as they lack experience to make good and risk-aware decisions when it comes to sexual liaisons. Available initiatives aimed at improving sexual behaviours of students are reported as being implemented simply because they work well somewhere else, without prior assessment of the needs/characteristics of the target population. This can negatively affect their effectiveness. The following question motivated the study: What factors influence sexual behaviours of first-year students on a university campus? This study sought to describe the perceptions of first-year students about engaging in sexual behaviours at a university campus. To answer the research question, theory of planned behaviour (TPB) was applied as the framework of the study. The study was descriptive in nature. Data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire from a conveniently selected sample of 240 first-year university students from one campus in the Eastern Cape. The measuring instruments were constructed from the constructs of the TBP, namely attitudes (ATT), perceived social norms (PSN), perceived behavioural control (PBC), and behavioural intentions (BI). The SPSS was used to analyse data for frequencies of responses and multiple regression. Most participants reported being sexually active (85.3%) and the lack of provision of information on sexual issues from adults (parents (23.3%) and church authorities (10.8%) was apparent. Perceived social norms were the most prominent factor that showed to be predictive of sexual behaviours with three significant predictor variables, namely partner age difference (beta = .059, ρ< .040), number of sexual partners in 3 months (beta = .238, ρ< .008) and condom use (beta = .095, ρ< .014). Behavioural intentions also showed some prediction, to a lesser extent, with one predictor variable, namely age at first willing intercourse (beta = .86, ρ< .001). The results from this study suggested that targeting social norms in intervention efforts aimed at improving sexual behaviours of first-year university students in the target population could be beneficial. More studies to explore available social norms in this target group and intervention to change negative norms are recommended.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die universiteitsomgewing bied studente meer geleenthede om seksueel aktief te wees. Daarbenewens is universiteitstudente na bewering geneig om hoërisikogedrag met betrekking tot seks, alkohol en dwelmmiddels te openbaar. Eerstejaarstudente word as die kwesbaarste beskou, aangesien hulle die ervaring kortkom om goeie, risikobewuste besluite oor seksuele verhoudings te neem. Tog word die beskikbare inisiatiewe vir die verbetering van seksuele gedrag onder studente blykbaar slegs in werking gestel omdat dit elders goed werk, sonder om eers die behoeftes/kenmerke van die teikenpopulasie te bepaal. Dít kan die doeltreffendheid van dié inisiatiewe benadeel. Die vraag wat as beweegrede vir hierdie studie gedien het, was: Watter faktore beïnvloed die seksuele gedrag van eerstejaars op ’n universiteitskampus? Die navorsing wou dus ondersoek instel na eerstejaars se opvattings oor seksuele gedrag en seksuele verhoudings op ’n universiteitskampus. Om hierdie navorsingsvraag te beantwoord, is ’n teorie van beplande gedrag (TPB) as studieraamwerk gebruik. Die studie was beskrywend van aard. Data is met behulp van ’n vraelys van ’n gerieflik gekose steekproef van 240 eerstejaar-universiteitstudente op ’n enkele kampus in die Oos- Kaap ingesamel. Die deelnemers het self die vraelys ingevul. Die meetinstrumente is saamgestel uit die verskillende konstrukte van die TPB, naamlik houdings (ATT), waargenome sosiale norme (PSN), waargenome gedragsbeheer (PBC) en gedragvoornemens (BI). SPSS-sagteware is gebruik om die data vir die frekwensie van response en meervoudige regressie te ontleed. Die meeste deelnemers het aangedui dat hulle seksueel aktief is (85,3%), en die gebrek aan inligting oor seksuele kwessies vanaf volwassenes (ouers 23,3%) en die kerk (10,8%) blyk duidelik. Waargenome sosiale norme het as die sterkste voorspeller van seksuele gedrag na vore getree, met drie beduidende voorspellerveranderlikes, naamlik ouderdomsverskil met bedmaats (Beta = .059, p< .040), aantal bedmaats in drie maande (Beta = .238, p< .008) en kondoomgebruik (Beta = .095, p< .014). Gedragvoornemens het ook ’n mindere mate van voorspellingsvermoë getoon, met een voorspellerveranderlike, naamlik ouderdom met eerste gewillige seksuele omgang (Beta = .86, p< .001). Die resultate van hierdie studie dui daarop dat intervensiepogings om seksuele gedrag onder eerstejaar-universiteitstudente te verbeter, by ’n klem op sosiale norme kan baat vind. Verdere studies oor die bestaande sosiale norme van hierdie teikengroep, sowel as intervensie om negatiewe norme te verander, word aanbeveel.

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