The results confirm both the importance and complexity of measuring sexual wellbeing in adolescence, given that it is among the first to explore this aspect of life within one of the youngest age groups in a low-income country.
Furthermore, the findings call for interventions that target adolescents, as well as their broader social contexts (including parents, teachers and community members). It recommends that existing policies should do more to address restrictive and discriminatory norms related to gender, power and sexuality, especially in very young people.
In this respect, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) can play an important role to support adolescent sexual wellbeing by providing evidence-based, contextually and developmentally-appropriate information across different time points.
Lead author Anna Kagestan, adds: “the research shows that early adolescence is a key [age group] when designing CSE interventions.” She hopes that “it provides the needed momentum for the international public health domain to steer away from danger approaches, towards positive interventions focused on strengthening adolescents’ agency to improve their sexual wellbeing.”
With this research, NGOs can further advocate for more programming that focuses on meeting the evidenced need for robust Comprehensive Sexuality Education targeted specifically at very young adolescents. Read the full article published in the BMC Reproductive Health journal.