The reliability of high-risk adolescent girls' report of their sexual history

Health Behavior & Health Education at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
Journal of Pediatric Health Care (Impact Factor: 1.44). 09/1996; 10(5):217-20. DOI: 10.1016/S0891-5245(96)90004-8
Source: PubMed


The purposes of this study were to determine the consistency in sexually active adolescent girls' self-report of sexual history and to examine their perceptions of providing sexual history information in an interview. Twenty-two adolescent girls (86% black and 14% white) were recruited from an outpatient dysplasia clinic to be interviewed 2 weeks apart. The interview consisted of questions regarding sexual history and whether they viewed their age at first intercourse as too young, too old, or appropriate. After the second interview they were asked whether there were any questions for which they thought other teenagers would be tempted not to tell the truth and any questions that were too embarrassing. Significant correlations between visits were seen for each sexual history variable. Girls described number of sexual partners and sexually transmitted disease history as questions to which adolescents might not be truthful. As part of sexual history taking, health care providers should explore with adolescent girls their perceptions of their history and address any concerns the girls have that might lead to inaccuracies or prevent the girls from obtaining appropriate anticipatory guidance.

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    • "Since scholarly debates on methodology in sex research in the 1990s, there has been little reflection on the limitations of applied methods and of the validity of the data obtained in studies of sexuality and HIV prevention. Researchers at the time pointed to the limitations of quantitative methods in sex research (Abramson 1990, 1992, Bolton 1998, Ulin 1992, Vance 1991), the importance of developing interview techniques that fit the topics under study (Van Gelder 1996) and the significance of using a variety of methods to gather valid information on sexuality, which is universally regarded as an intimate, sensitive and taboo-ridden issue (Parker, Herdt and Carballo 1991, Rosenthal et al. 1996). There is a need to revisit some of these reflections in order to improve methods and research designs through which issues can be approached more productively. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the urgency of improving an understanding of sexual cultures in the face of a globally devastating HIV epidemic, methodological reflection and innovation has been conspicuously absent from qualitative research in recent years. Findings from fieldwork on condom use among young people in Mozambique confirm the need to remain alert to the ideological and linguistic bias of applied methods. Interviewing young people about their sexuality using a conventional health discourse resulted in incorrect or socially acceptable answers rather than accurate information about their sexual behaviour. Young people's resistance to enquiry, the paper argues, is due to ideological contradictions between their sexual culture and slang, on the one hand, and Western health discourses associated with colonial and post-colonial opposition to traditional culture and languages, on the other. Mixing colloquial Portuguese and changana sexual slang is constructed around ideas of safedeza and pleasure, while dominant health discourses address sexuality as both 'risky' and 'dangerous'. In order to gain a deeper understanding of sexual cultures and to make HIV prevention efforts relevant to young people, it is suggested that researchers and policy makers approach respondents with a language that is sensitive to the local ideological and linguistic context.
    Culture Health & Sexuality 08/2009; 11(6):655-68. DOI:10.1080/13691050903040188 · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    PEDIATRICS 12/1998; 102(5):1185-92. DOI:10.1542/peds.102.5.1185 · 5.47 Impact Factor
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