Sexuality, sexual and reproductive health : an exploration of the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of Greek-Cypriot adolescents
The study examines the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of Greek-Cypriot adolescents regarding sexuality, sexual and reproductive health in Cyprus and is based on the concepts of culture, gender and sexuality under the general scope of health promotion and health education. The study reviews international and local literature on the theory and practice of these ideas and their influence on health, focusing on sexuality. Since culture and society are thought to influence health and sexuality, an extensive discussion is presented on the history of Cyprus and its development in contemporary years. This is a Pan-Cyprian study of 697 third grade students (13-15 years old) in public general secondary (high) education schools (gymnasium) in Cyprus. A close-ended questionnaire was designed including 51 questions. Three axes were taken in consideration: Knowledge; resources and needs; attitudes and beliefs. With the application of statistical analyses such as factor and cluster analysis, several results were drawn. Among other things the findings reveal that socio-cultural determinants such as religion/church, do have enormous impact on Greek-Cypriot adolescents' attitudes and beliefs. Although young people do have some knowledge about sexuality, limited resources and services exist to support and reinforce that. In the Cypriot society of the 21st century some conservatism and taboo still exist. Gender differences are apparent. Greek-Cypriot society at some point seems to have different expectations, roles and even a 'code of ethics' among males and females. Researching sexuality issues is a challenge since up until recently sexuality was very much a taboo area. Contemporary Cypriot society is becoming more sensitive and open about it even though a degree of conservatism still exists. However, there is limited scientific evidence on sexuality matters. This study aims to provide some evidence. When a shift in attitudes takes place is firstly noticed among adolescents. Based on the literature review and the results of this study a theoretical explanatory model was developed. At the end, the study highlights its conclusions and several recommendations are made for future investigation and progress in the fields of health and education.