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Knowledge of parents on sex education of their adolescent children residing in urban and rural areas of Sikkim

Author: 
Mrs. Barkha Devi, Mrs. HisheyLamu Bhutia, Ms. Cheden Sherpa, Ms. Bechung Lepcha, Ms. Sharmila Dangal, Ms. Sustika Rai, Ms. Babina Khanal, Ms. Songmit Lepcha, Ms. Durga Devi Sapkota, Ms. SangayChamoo Dukpa, Ms. Samikcha Giri, Ms. Samitla Subba, Ms. Mala
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Introduction: Parents are the most consistent influence in children’s lives and are in unique position to influence young people’s health and personal development during their transition to sexual life. Sex education should be an integral part of the learning process that should begin in childhood and continued to adult life, because it is lifelong process. In India, due to various cultural and religious beliefs parents are generally not interested to talk about sex-education though they are the first socializing agent of the children. So it is necessary to investigate the knowledge of parents on sex education of their adolescent children. Materials and Methods: A descriptive comparative study design was used to study the knowledge of parents on sex education of their adolescent children from randomly selected urban and rural areas of Sikkim. A total of 120 parents (60 from each area) whose adolescent children fall in the age group of 10-19 years were selected through purposive sampling technique, and a structured questionnaire was used to assess the knowledge of parents for which validity and reliability was ensured through panel of experts. Results: Results of the study revealed that majority of the parents were reluctant to talk about sex education to their adolescent children as they found it embarrassing to discuss these issues. Majority of the parents (77%-father, 67 %-mother in urban & 43%-father, 63 %-mother in rural) reported that they never provided sex education to their children. The knowledge regarding sex education was found to be inadequate among the 67% parents in urban area and 87% parents in rural area. The unpaired t-test shows a significant difference in knowledge area of human sexuality (P<0.05), anatomy and physiology of human sexuality (P<0.05), concept and changes occurring during puberty (P<0.05) and concept of sex education and STDs (P<0.05) between parents who reside in urban areas and those who dwell in rural areas. There was no significant difference noted between fathers’ and mothers’ knowledge on sex education of their adolescent children in urban area (t=1.26, P>0.05) and rural area (t=0.47,P>0.05). Conclusion: There were substantial gap in knowledge about human sexuality, changes occur during puberty and sexual health among parents of adolescent children in both urban and rural areas. The study shows that residency is not a determinant of sex education and parental gender does not work as a function of sex education between parents who reside in urban areas and those who dwell in rural areas. The organization of community based programme would help parents know the rudiments of sex education and acquire requisite skills needed.

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