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Alcohol advice needs to play a greater role in sex education for teenagers
Date:11/5/2008

Alcohol and attitudes are two of the key factors that health professionals need to be aware of when they are dealing with sexually active teenagers.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield, UK, found considerable differences between the way that boys and girls aged 14 to 16 viewed a series of sexual scenarios.

"The girls who took part in our focus groups were more likely to see their partner's point of view and were more aware of the complex nature of relationships than the boys" says nurse researcher Dr Mark Hayter.

Ten focus groups were held with 35 teenagers who had accessed nurse-led sexual health outreach clinics for contraception. These clinics are often held in conjunction with youth clubs in areas where teenage pregnancy rates are high.

The participants were presented with a series of scenarios a girl and a boy both reluctant to have sex, a girl who had had a numbers of partners and a girl who felt pressured to have sex because her friends had paired off with two boys leaving her with a third.

"The objective of this study was to explore the broad gender-based attitudes and opinions towards all of the case studies, not just to explore any differences between attitudes towards any one particular case study" explains Dr Hayter, who carried out the research with Christina Harrison, a sexual health specialist nurse from Doncaster Primary Care Trust.

"Male and female attitudes clearly differed. The girls' responses were more empathic and complex because they face more complex social pressures when it comes to having sex. The young men on the other hand appeared to follow behaviour patterns that included pressuring girls to have sex, often with the use of alcohol.

"We also noticed that the boys often used aggressive language about relationships - an element that was missing from the girls' focus groups. For example they suggested that a girlfriend who slept around would probably pay a
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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