Original Articles

Sexual Behaviour of High School Students in Two Rural South African Communities

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 20, issue 1, 2010 , pages: 35–41
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2010.10820340
Author(s): Lauren G. WildUniversity of Cape Town, South Africa, Alan J. FlisherUniversity of Cape Town, South Africa, Carl F. LombardMedical Research Council, South Africa


This study investigated the prevalence and correlates of sexual risk behaviour among high school students in two rural settings in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, using a cross-sectional survey design. One thousand six hundred and thirteen randomly-selected adolescents (58% female) in Grade 11 completed a self-report questionnaire that asked about demographic characteristics and participation in a range of health risk behaviours. The results indicated a high prevalence of sexual risk behaviours, and suggested that rural adolescents are initiating intercourse at a younger age than their urban counterparts and are less likely to use condoms. Socioeconomic status, grade repetition and having lived in a city were inconsistently related to sexual risk behaviour. The findings suggest a particular need for intervention efforts aimed at young people in rural settings.

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