The influence of self-esteem and self-efficacy on sexual risk-taking behaviour in school-going adolescents in the Durban Metropolitan area.
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Adolescents engaging in sexual risk behaviours may experience negative psychological and social outcomes, and there can be consequent interference with the accomplishment of developmental tasks. Identified risk influences for sexual risk behaviour range from intrapersonal factors to social normative behaviours and contextual/environmental issues. This study focuses on two areas of intrapersonal factors namely, self-esteem and selfefficacy in understanding sexual behaviours in a sample of school going adolescents. The sample was made up of learners who were in grades nine, ten and eleven from a school in the Durban Metropolitan area (N=259). The results of the study indicated that adolescents who had never engaged in sexual intercourse (primary abstinence) have higher self-esteem and self-efficacy than those adolescents who had previously engaged in sexual intercourse. Also, the findings indicated that that there is no association between levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy, and sexual risk behaviours in relation to the dimensions of condom use, number of sexual partners and age of sexual debut of those who are sexually active. These findings are essentially supportive of the fact that involvement in the sexual domain is mediated by self-esteem and self-efficacy for adolescents who are not sexually active. Intervention programmes should be aimed at increasing self-esteem and self-efficacy at a primary school level, prior to sexual debut, to delay the age of sexual debut, thereby protecting against sexual risk behaviours.