A level of discomfort! Exploring the relationship between maternal sexual health knowledge, religiosity and comfort discussing sexual health issues with adolescents

Fiona Farringdon, University of Notre Dame Australia
Courtney Holgate
Fleur McIntyre, University of Notre Dame Australia
Max Bulsara, University of Notre Dame Australia

Abstract

This pilot study explored if a relationship existed between maternal sexual health knowledge, religiosity and comfort discussing sexual health issues with adolescents. Seventy-six mothers with adolescent children aged between 10 and 19 completed a combined survey addressing religiosity, sexual health knowledge and comfort discussing sexual health issues. Mann–Whitney U tests were performed to compare the median scores, Spearman’s rho tests were performed to determine correlations between the median scores, Fisher’s exact tests were computed to test for significant differences between proportions and a logistic regression model was used to investigate significant factors. No significant differences or relationships between maternal total sexual health knowledge, total religiosity and total comfort discussing sexual health issues with adolescents were detected; however, specific sexual health topics did show differences. Mothers with a higher level of religiosity were more likely to feel uncomfortable discussing masturbation, condoms, abortion, sexual assault and contraception than mothers with a lower level of religiosity. Regardless of religiosity, many of the mothers in the study reported a lack of accurate knowledge regarding some sexual health topics. The findings suggest that mothers need more education regarding accurate sexual health information if they are to comfortably provide comprehensive sexual health education in a religiously sensitive context.

 

Link to Publisher Version (DOI)

http://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-013-0122-9