Parental communication about sex and motherhood trends among students at a South African university

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    Pregnancy among teenagers and unmarried young adults is common in South Africa. This presents challenges and concerns due to the association with lower socio-economic status, lack of paternal support and commitment among male partners, disruption of schooling that potentially accompanies pregnancy, and many others. It also raises critical sociological and communication questions: Do parents talk to their children about sex-related issues? What are the young adults’ idea of love, sex and relationships? What are the patterns of motherhood and pregnancy among university students? Many studies have explored teenage pregnancy in South Africa, but there is limited focus on young adult students at universities, especially rural universities. Through a survey of 150 students at the University of Limpopo in South Africa, this study shows that parental communication about sex is not a popular communicative practice among many students, and for those whose parents have talked to them about sex, the parental communication tends to have limited influence on the students’ attitude to safe sex. In this study, for a third of the students who are mothers the concerns about young motherhood continue to shape their economic and socio-cultural experiences.