Sexual Health Behavior of Young People in Rural and Urban South Africa - Paper Example

7 pages
1789 words
Boston College
Type of paper: 
Research proposal
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Teenage pregnancy and other sexual related issues among the teenagers in South Africa have become very rampant nowadays. Therefore, this proposal will aim at proposing a research for exploring the sexual behaviors among young women in both rural and urban South Africa. A brief introduction to the study topic will be provided followed by a detailed literature review of the relevant initial studies in a bid to raise working hypotheses for the study. The methodology will then be outlined where the study design, sample size, materials, data collection procedure and data analysis will be specified.

Exploring Sexual Health Behavior of Young People in Rural and Urban South Africa: Focusing On Teenage Pregnancy


According to Draper et al. (2014), 65% of women living in the rural areas have a child by the age of 20 which means that there is a widespread prevalence in the number of pregnancies that occur between 13 and 19 years of age. The high rates of pregnancy among the adolescents call for in-depth analysis of the needs that drive the teenagers and those with twenty years and below to participating in sexual behaviors that lead to pregnancies. Basing on the needs raised in the analysis, there can then be developed relevant interventions that will enable the mitigation of the occurrences of these pregnancies.

Consequently, in the following research proposal, the sexual health behavior of young people within the rural and urban areas of South Africa will be explored where the paper will mainly focus on the occurrences of pregnancies among the teenagers. To accomplish this, three major forms of analyses will be proposed. Firstly, the use of a situational analysis with quantitative analysis of clinical files in rural and urban areas for those aged between 13 and 25 years will be proposed. Secondly, the qualitative exploratory analysis of the data in Youth NGOs will be recommended. Thirdly, the use of qualitative/ quantitative analysis of the needs and interventions given will be offered for the study.

Literature Review

Focusing on teenage pregnancy, many studies have associated the pregnancies with occurrences of unprotected sex for especially for economic gains (Geary et al., 2014; Draper et al., 2014; Toska et al., 2016). Closely associated with the pregnancies is the increased numbers of HIV infections and prevalence of communicable diseases among the adolescents in rural and urban areas of South Africa (Geary et al., 2014; Draper et al., 2014; Black et al., 2014). According to Edin et al. (2016), the sex behaviors endangering young people (18-19) are related to obligatory gender patterns including dating and are also attributed to the arbitrary perception of getting into relationships with the young people. In both cases, sex is a normative issue as it builds a relationship which leads to the trivialization of sexual risk-taking and dating and thus increases teenage pregnancies. Fortunately, Edin et al. (2016) go ahead to admit that use of social class and education concerning non-trivialization of sex and dating act as perfect interventions for reducing teenage pregnancy and all the negativities associated with it.

Tylor et al. (2014) introduce effects that are related to teenage pregnancies: increased school dropouts, health issues to do with preterm births, and mental issues which all lead to increased economic burdens to the teenagers families. Knowing the effects and the fact that 71 per 1000 women (15-19 years of age) in South Africa experience teenage pregnancy. Taylor et al. (2014) conducted a qualitative and quantitative study to determine the effects of Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) in 16 KwaZulu-Natal high schools, a school in South Africa with over 1,499 students. From the study, the researchers found that the interventions involving the TPPP and other School Lifeskills Programs induced positive change in behavior to do with sex. To be more specific, the interventions were found to improve attitudes towards sexual abstinence and also influence intentions for communicating about teenage pregnancy and opting for the use of condoms to reduce the chance of pregnancies and other sexual effects.

In a study, Jewkes et al. (2014) done by Project Empower, a non-governmental organization in Durban, specific interventions for changing the sex behaviors of adolescents were analyzed. From the analysis, it was concluded that due to challenging social, political and economic environments in different areas of South Africa, the unwanted pregnancies and poor sexual health behaviors are common among the young people in the areas especially in the informal settlements (Jewkes et al., 2014). Therefore, according to Jewkes et al. (2014), the primary interventions for these behaviors would be actively engaging the youth in economic empowerment activities. The activities would be based on improving the social capital, the natural capital, the human capital, and the physical capital which according to the sustainable livelihoods theory consolidate a poverty free and more informed cautious life. In other words, such interventions, when delivered to the young women would enable them to create their futures and be more open minded thus digressing from the bad sex health behaviors which lead to unwanted pregnancies and infections among the young women and even men.

Free schooling, reduced incidence of economic sex and school feeding activities are the majorly proposed interventions to unwary sexual behaviors among the teenage girls (Cluver, Orkin, Yakubovich & Sherr, 2016). In this case, the aspects of poverty highly fuel the occurrence of the incautious sex behavior which can be associated with the needs of money to cater for ones basic living needs, education and other perceived luxuries. Similar interventions are proposed by Toska et al. (2016) in which case, approximately 46% of the adolescent girls in South Africa were found to engage in incautious sexual behavior which involved having unprotected sex. Therefore, the authors proposed parental supervision, access to school and adolescent sensitive clinic care as the primary interventions that can reduce the foul behavior that has resulted to unwanted pregnancies among the young women and girls (Toska et al., 2016).

Notably, economic and social protection is the most echoed mode of intervention for teenage pregnancy and other unwanted sex related behaviors. Cluver, Orkin, Boyes, and Sherr (2014) reckon the effectiveness of social protection in intervening for unwanted pregnancies and sexual behaviors among the teenagers. Specifically, the researchers found that social safety interventions including cash and integrated cash plus care provision among the young people reduced sexual engagements. The delivery of cash was found to reduce the incidences mainly among the adolescent girls while the delivery of both cash and care reduced the impacts among both boys and girls (Cluver et al., 2014). In other words, social protection which majorly revolves around cash and care provided to the target population is a significant and efficient intervention that is and should be adopted.

Aim of Study

To propose the most effective interventions for reducing the occurrences of teenage pregnancies in rural and urban parts of South Africa


HO: There is a high prevalence of teenage pregnancy in both the rural and urban population of young girls

H1: Financial needs are the primary propagators of teenage pregnancy and other risky sexual behaviors

H2: Social protection is among the most effective interventions for teenage pregnancy and risky sexual health and behavior among the teenagers in rural and urban South Africa

H3: School based adolescent pregnancy programs are the most effective interventions for teenagers


Sample Design

Since this paper is aimed at establishing both qualitative and quantitative aspects of teenage pregnancy, the study will be entirely a secondary research due to the ease of access to the relevant quantitative data and other qualitative information concerning the topic. Therefore, the study will be based on a deductive approach with a meta-analytical analysis as the ultimate findings will be garnered from analyzing the data collected from initial qualitative and quantitative studies.

Materials and Sample Size

The study will incorporate the use of academic research journals (not less than 20 sources) as a source of qualitative secondary data and information. Also, the study will use clinical records (for not less than five clinics) and NGOs data records (for not less than 5 NGOs) for utilization in the quantitative aspect of the study.


The criteria for selecting the studies will be such that only those studies conducted between 2015 and 2017 will be eligible for validity and timeliness of the information and data given. Also, they will have to focus on the target population group of teenagers mainly female teenagers, and some will have to concentrate on the hypothesized interventions. These sources will be derived from credible websites and databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar and other data sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Further, to incorporate a situational analysis of the specific urban and rural areas in South Africa, data shall be gathered from primary clinics and healthcare centers throughout the country.

These data will be accessed from the facilities websites or their publications via the internet or where possible through physical visits to the facilities. More data will be collected from local NGOs and other NGOs that have dealt with the topic of interest through similar methods like for clinical data. All these sourcing of data will be aimed towards providing a composite qualitative and quantitative study for targeted towards proving whether the hypotheses generated from literature should be accepted or rejected.

Data Analysis

The SPSS and MS Excel software will be the major software used for data analysis were descriptive statistics, regression and other relevant charts and tables shall be used to illustrate the findings of the study. It is good to mention that independent variables will include the age of the target group and time. The dependent variables will include needs and causes of teenage pregnancies even though they will vary widely according to the gathered information and data. It is good to mention that the study shall consider among others plagiarism, originality, creativity, and confidentiality (especially for physically collected clinical data) as the major ethical issues.

Discussion and Conclusion

Since the financial, social, political and other environmental pressures are the primary needs or causes of teenage pregnancies, these study will be focused towards using secondary information and data since it is readily available and present in abundance. The situational analysis of the rural and urban teenage population will be based on the data and information derived from clinics and the NGOs while the general quantitative and qualitative data will be obtained from the other secondary academic sources acquired through the described criteria. In a nut shell, the data and information gathered from these study will be used to outline the needs of the teenage women that make them vulnerable to getting unwanted pregnancies. From all that, the relevant interventions and the most efficient of them will be compared and proposed as a solution to reducing the incidences of teenage pregnancies among the young people thus testing the hypotheses listed for the study.



Black, S., Wallace, M., Middelkoop, K., Robbertze, D., Bennie, T., Wood, R., & Bekker, L. (2014). Imp...

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