Influence of sources of sexual information and personal characteristics on secondary School students’ sexual behaviour in Thika west sub-county, Kenya
The purpose of this research was to investigate reliable sources of sexual information for secondary school students that influence their sexual behaviour. This research was carried out in Kenya, specifically Thika West sub-County. It was conducted among sampled secondary school students, their head teachers and teacher counsellors. The specific objectives of the study were to: establish how sexual information obtained through the school curriculum influences secondary school students’ sexual behaviour; establish how sexual information received through the family setting influences secondary school students’ sexual behaviour; investigate how sexual information received through religious institutions influences secondary school students’ sexual behaviour; establish how sexual information obtained through the peer group influences secondary school students’ sexual behaviour; investigate how sexual information accessed through the media influences secondary school students’ sexual behaviour; and how students’ personal characteristics influence their sexual behaviour. The study was carried out using survey research design and was guided by six hypotheses. Research tools used comprised questionnaires for student respondents and interview schedules for head teachers and teacher counsellors. The data collected was processed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS IBM statistics 21). The statistics were tabulated and subjected to regression analysis using ANOVA and coefficient models. Pertinent findings have indicated that: an overwhelming proportion of secondary school students are sexually active. This may have contributed in a rise in cases of premarital pregnancies and subsequent abortions, student drop out from schools, Human Immune Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and Sexually Transmitted infections. The results established that mass media as a source of sexual information is the most influential, followed by peer group and school curriculum respectively. However all respondents reported that the information received through the school curriculum is too little and economical especially on emotional aspects of sexuality. Sexual information from the family members though considered as reliable is too little to be of any significance on students’ sexual behaviour. Information received through religious institutions is almost non-existent and has the lowest level of significance on students’ sexual behaviour. Finally, students’ personal characteristics of age and gender were revealed as influencing students’ choice of being sexually active. Study results reveal that the preferred agents of transmitting sexuality information were; school curriculum, media, family, peer counsellors, and teacher counsellors respectively. Others mentioned included religion, mentors, and specialized personnel. In a nutshell, there is no any reliable source of sexual information that students can rely on. All student respondents indicated their support for comprehensive sexuality information to enable them avoid pitfalls from lack of knowledge. All key informants who included head teachers and teacher counsellors supported that information about the use of contraceptives should be made available to students.