“Let’s talk about sex baby” - A comparative study of parents’ perceptions of parent-child sexuality communication with their adolescent children in rural and urban settings in eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.
Gumede, Nompumelelo Promise.
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In South Africa, the teenage pregnancy prevalence rate stands at 47 births per 1000 girls per annum for girls aged between 15 and 19 years, as opposed to 15 per 1000 girls in the United Kingdom (UK), and 24 per 1000 girls in the United States (US). Unintended adolescent pregnancies pose threats not only to the adolescent, but also to the adolescent’s family, community and country. There is worldwide agreement that ending adolescent pregnancies should be part of national strategies for poverty reduction and social justice, as they undermine the achievement of several Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs). Parent-child communication on sexuality has been shown to improve sexual and reproductive outcomes in adolescents. However, little research is available to indicate the effectiveness of this approach within the African context, more specifically, the KwaZulu-Natal context in South Africa. This study explores Zulu speaking parents’ perceptions of parent-child communication on sexuality in a rural area, Umnini, and in an urban area, Queensburgh in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Using a qualitative approach to research, involving focus group discussions (FGDs) with rural and urban Zulu-speaking parents, selected using nonrandom sampling, this study explores parents’ perceptions of parent-child communication on sexuality. Framed through the theoretical lens of Mohan Dutta’s Culture-Centred Approach (CCA) to health communication, and Kincaid et al’s Social Ecology Model for Communication and Health Behaviour (SEMCHB), findings reveal that the cultural context influences parental communication on sexuality, and that parent-child communication on sexuality needs to be embedded within a multi-level approach to health communication at the individual, social, community and policy levels.