AN ASSESSMENT OF ATTITUDE OF ADOLESCENTS TOWARDS SEXUAL ACTIVITIES IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS
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The study investigated the attitude of adolescents towards sexual activities in selected secondary schools in Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Data were collected from 200 randomly selected students using survey questionnaire on “Attitude of Adolescents toward Sexual Activities Questionnaire.(AASAQ).
” Data collected were analysis using frequency counts, percentage and t-test.
The results indicated that students were influenced by factors such as parents, socio-economic status, age, location and social peer group.
The comparison shown that there were significant differences in the factors influencing the premarital sexual activities of students on the basis of age, parents’ occupation and education.
But no significant difference was found on the basis of sex.
On the basis of these findings, it was recommended that parents should conduct themselves in a way to serve as models to their children.
They should also create time to guide their children.
Background to the Study
“Sexual permissiveness” or what Oshunrinde (1992) called “the growing rate of sexual irresponsibility’s especially among youths” seem to be on the increase. In her own opinion, Adelaya (1986) asserted that modern day Nigerians have made sex one of the most discussed subjects.
She also noted that our forefathers pretended as if sex does not exist by placing some taboos on it, whereas modern Nigerians pretend that nothing else exists other than sex.
Increasing rate of teenage sexual activity can be substantiated by numerous reports of unintended pregnancies, illegal abortion and dumping of unwanted babies (Owuamanam, 1984).
According to him, there is also visible evidence of different forms of sexual aberrations among Nigerian youths as demonstrated by cases of prostitution, illegitimacy and sexual exploitation including rape.
Owuamanam (1984) explained that the present time can be described as a period of “sex exposition” and “sex permissiveness” Sofola (1990), discussing on the sexual sex as no more sanctity and it is no more a big deal. This is why it happens anywhere, on the lawn, under a tree, in the boot of a car or in the classroom.
The tragedy of youth sexuality is that young people engage in sexual activities with limited knowledge of what is involved.
Providing authentic sex information through counselling and sex education is an aspect of sexuality that ought to engage society’s attention rather than youth’s participation in the activities.
In the pursuit of education, students leave their home for school and are no longer under the strict supervision of their parents.
Most of them get exposed to western life styles more than ever and thus get engaged in premarital sexual affairs which they regard as due marks of civilization.
Nigeria youths, according to Elimian (1985), are rarely exposed to sex through pomography in imported films, books, magazine, T.V. without a proper sense of responsibility.
One has the feelings that since the advent of various contraceptives, there has been an increasing pressure on female youths to be more casual about sexual relationship.
According to the result of an intense in-depth survey carried out, premarital and extramarital intercourse is relatively common among Yoruba men and women, with the men reporting consistently more sexual partners and more frequent intercourse than women (Orubuloye, Caldwell and Caldwell, 1991).
The investigator commented that this level of sexual networking is so high that the society is dangerously exposed to sexual transmitted diseases.
The sexual behavior of youths have been of particular interest and the conception has been that adolescence is a period of intense sexual drive and experimentation (Owuamanam, 1982).
However, although Soyinka (1979) was of the view that the “importance of purity” before marriage is fast dying out in Nigeria, Owuamanam (1982) stated that the issue of sexual revolution among Nigerian adolescents is a matter of speculation as a relatively few empirical studies have been carried out on Nigerian adolescents’ sexual behaviors.
Although, sexuality can be explained within a biological and developmental framework, it is equally important to search for cultural and social correlates.
It may therefore be erroneous to view adolescence across cultural and social boundaries and expect to find similar sexual behaviour (Owuamanam, 1982).
In fact, as Grinder (1973) rightly pointed out, the meaning of sex for various people depends upon the social context in which it develops. Also, related to this is time or period of studies.
The behavior of an individual one year ago may be different from his behavior this year.
Research evident abounds, indicating that adolescents are changing in their attitudes to sexual behaviour (Coleman, 1980).
Essentially, if comparisons are drawn between the attitudes of adolescence today and those of adolescents twenty or thirty years ago, there will be important differences.
Adolescent of today seem to value sexual activities more than their counterparts in the yesteryears.
Conger (1983) observed:
Of all the developmental events of adolescence, the most dramatic is the increase in sexual drive and the new and often mysterious feelings and thought that accompany integration of sexuality with other aspects of the emerging sense of self without having to undergo too much conflict and anxiety in contemporary society with its changing sex roles and peculiar mixture of permissiveness and prudery.
This is not an easy task to master.
Many adults, according to Kaplan (1983), view adolescent sexuality as behavior comparable to using illegal drugs.
To them (i.e. to the adults), these behaviours are morally wrong, dangerous to the persons involved and are signs of the young person’s rebellion against adults.
Adolescents on other hand, see sex as a behaving like adults and exercising their right to explore and understand their own bodies.
Adolescent sexuality thus represents another source of conflict with the adults’ society (Owuamanam, 1984).
Adolescents find adult sanction against their sexuality difficult to acceptance adults themselves are engaging in the same acts and in fact most often find their sexuality difficult to handle responsibly.
The adults too often go against the codes of responsible adults’ sexuality by engaging in extra-marital sexual behavior.
As it has been repeatedly stated in this proposal sexual activities among youths appear to be more prevalent today than ever.
An increase in liberal attitudes and sexual awareness among teenagers has resulted in the association of our correct teenage population with a “sexual revolution” (Owuamanam 1982).
Pregnancy, abortion, contraception and venereal diseases (V.D), and even AIDS/HIV infection are issues in this “revolution”.
While two declares age, teenagers were reaching reproductive maturity at the age of 17 to 18, which was about the time they were also becoming intellectually mature, today these two events are completely dissociated (Short, 1974).
Now, sexual maturity and inset of sexual interests now precede the intellectual maturity.
Other influential factors that enhance “sexual revolution”, according to Serderowitz and Paxman (1985) Are earlier initiation of sexual activity; social change and modernization including educational opportunities; a lengthening of the socially defined period of adolescence; increase in the percentages of sexually active females particularly unmarried adolescents; delayed age at married; and relaxation of the traditional family’s constraints on sexuality.
Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria a number of studies have shown that sexual activity among youths particularly the unmarried, is not only high but rising (Oladipo, 1983) this bespeaks the need for increased knowledge and use of contraception to prevent the risk of contracting venereal diseases and or unwanted pregnancy is inadvisable, a high proportion of students in Ilorin East both male and female, are currently sexually achieve and may engage in sexual activities.
This may be detrimental to their education and future career.
But these activities could have been influenced by significant other or object in adolescents’ lives. For example, parents may be permissive to allow their children to art freely.
They may talk or act sexually in the presence of the child or even neglect their functions to them.
They may wrongly learn these from them all these may exert influence on them.
In view of the above, the study investigated attitude of Adolescents towards sexual activities in selected secondary schools in Ilorin East.
In another study carried out in 1981/82 in Ilorin East, of 900 never married female adolescents, aged 14 – 25 years, it was discovered that 55 percent were sexually experienced, 46 percent of these were pregnant at least once and nearly all of them had terminated their pregnancy through induced abortion (Sulaiman & Azeogu, 1992).
Purpose of the Study
This research has set out to conduct a study to determine the level of the sexual activities secondary school students in Ilorin East town.
Knowledge and extent of their use of contraceptive devices.
1. Whether there is any significant difference in the attitude of adolescents towards sexual activities of male and female students in Ilorin East Secondary.
2. Whether there is any significant difference in the attitude of adolescents towards sexual activities of young and old secondary school in Ilorin East.
3. Whether there is any significant difference in the attitude of adolescents towards sexual activities of secondary school student from self employed and government employed parents.
4. Whether there is any significant difference in the attitude of adolescents towards sexual activities of secondary school student from illiterate and literate parents.
What are the attitudes of adolescents towards sexual activities among unmarried female students of secondary school students in Ilorin East?
From the foregoing therefore, the following relevant questions are raised:
(1) To what are the attitudes of adolescents towards sexual activities unmarried female students of secondary school students in Ilorin East.
(2) Is there any a significant difference in the attitude of adolescents towards sexual activities and female secondary school?
(3) Is there any significant different in the attitude of adolescents towards sexual of young and old secondary school students?
(4) Is there any significant difference in the attitude of adolescents towards sexual activities of students from self compared and government employed parents?
(5) Is there any significant difference in the factors influences premarital sexual activities of students from illiterate and literature parents?
The following hypotheses where tested in the study:
1. There is no significant difference in the premarital activities of male and female students in Ilorin East Secondary.
2. There is no significant difference in the attitude of adolescents towards sexual activities of young and old secondary school in Ilorin East.
3. There is no significant difference in the attitude of adolescents towards sexual activities of secondary school student from self employed and government employed parents.
4. There is no significant difference in the attitude of adolescents towards sexual activities of secondary school student from illiterate and literate parents.
Significance of the Study
All over the world, youth are regarded as the most valuable human asset for national development.
As potential parents and leaders, youths’ sexual attitudes and behaviors determine to a large extent the direction of the society.
Therefore, a study of adolescent sexual behavior in Nigeria is important and significant not only because of the health, social, economic and possibly, psychological repercussions of adolescent sexuality, but for two major demographic reasons as well.
The first is the sheer size of the adolescent population; about one person out of every five in Nigeria is between ages 10 and 19 (Makinwa – Adebusoye, 1992).
Finally, school guidance counsellors will benefit from the results of this study in that it will enable them to understand better the sexual problems of Nigerian adolescents, and why these adolescents sometimes use premarital sexual behavior to “solve” some of their emotional problems.
Thus, counsellors will be well equipped to counsel then on sexual behavioral problems or problems related to, or affected by it.