Sense of control impacts young people’s ability to propose safer sex
Which factors influence whether a young person has safe sex? That's one of the questions explored by a new Malmö University study on young people's attitudes, behaviours and knowledge about sexuality.
Young people who feel in control over their lives are more likely to suggest safe sex, such as sex with a condom, a study by Anna ChuChu Schindele finds. The sense of control can be understood as a resource to influence one’s own sexual and reproductive health, she argues.
The study examined the topic through parameters such as gender identity, sexual identity, economic status, and whether the person was born abroad.
“I am investigating whether young people have equal opportunities for sexual and reproductive health – and if there is inequality, what can we do about it?”
The results show how important it is for schools, student health services and youth clinics to have good knowledge of LGBTQI issues, gender equality and the impact of socio-economic factors on health.
Anna ChuChu Schindele
The young people who felt the most in control of their lives and thus had the resources to influence their sexual and reproductive health were among male respondents who were heterosexual, cisgender, financially well-off, born in Sweden and not receiving social assistance. In contrast, lower resources were found among non-binary people, people with transgender experiences and sexual minorities.
“The study therefore shows that several factors influence young people's circumstances. The results show how important it is for schools, student health services and youth clinics to have good knowledge of LGBTQI issues, gender equality and the impact of socio-economic factors on health,” Anna ChuChu Schindele says.
The study is part of her dissertation work on the health impact of different social determinants and power structures, in which the main data source was a large survey, ‘Sexuality and Health among Young People in Sweden’ (UngKAB15) – a study from 2015 with responses from over 7000 young people between 16 and 29 years.
ChuChu Schindele, who is used to working with youth and now works part-time at the Swedish Public Health Agency, believes that the results of her study can be used to improve communication between adults and young people when talking about sex and sexuality.
“Better understanding of the factors that may influence young people's ability to suggest safe sex can lead to strengthened and targeted health promotion and prevention work in, for example, school health services and youth clinics,” she says.
Text: Anna Dahlbeck & Anna Jaakonaho
Social determinants of health
Many factors affect how we grow up, educate ourselves and work, and where we live. They are called determinants of health, or social determinants. Community planning, democracy and human rights play an important role in achieving equitable health and sustainable development. Read more about the social determinants of health:
Social determinants of health, WHO
Read the whole study:
Analysing intersecting social resources in young people’s ability to suggest safer sex - results from a national population-based survey in Sweden
Find out more about the dissertation project and the author's previous publications:Anna ChuChu Schindele