Sexual health and sexual health promotion in the transition from adolesence to emerging adulthood

Sammanfattning: Aim: This thesis aims to explore the transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood, related to adolescents’ sexual behavior, conceptions concerning sex, sexual relationships and sex education, their need for knowledge and support related to sexuality. A further aim was to explore professionals’ views on promotion of sexual health, and interprofessional collaboration in relation to adolescents’ sexual health. Methods: Both quantitative methods (I) and qualitative methods (II, III, IV) were used. In study I, 139 adolescents responded to a cross-sectional survey. The qualitative data was obtained through focus group interviews with 32 adolescents (II) and individual, pair and group interviews (III) with 26 adolescents. Further, 24 professionals participated in focus group interviews (IV). Findings: Adolescents’ reported a low level of sexual risk behavior and high self-esteem, yet put themselves at risk by inconsistent condom use (I). Learning about sex and relationships included values, knowledge and practical skills in relation to maturity, enabling internalization of different aspects of sexuality, creating meaning and fostering autonomy and identity (II). Developing sexuality involved changing needs for knowledge, discussing, interacting with others, and gaining experience (III). Professionals reached out to adolescents through competence and trusting relationships. It was important to keep up to date with changes regarding sexuality, to reach vulnerable groups, and include questions about sexuality in all health care contexts involving adolescents (IV). Conclusions: Adolescents’ needs for knowledge and support were constantly changing with development through learning, experience and interaction with peers, parents, and health professionals. Different efforts are necessary in sexual health promotion depending on age, maturity or gender in order to provide high quality nursing interventions in relation to adolescents’ sexual health.

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