Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Sources of social support and sexual behaviour advice for young adults in rural South Africa
Authors: Harling, Guy 
Gumede, Dumile 
Shahmanesh, Maryam 
Pillay, Deenan 
Bärnighausen, Till W. 
Tanser, Frank 
Keywords: South Africa;Advice;Sexual behaviour;Social support;Youth
Issue Date: Jan-2018
Publisher: BMJ
Source: Harling, G. 2018. Sources of social support and sexual behaviour advice for young adults in rural South Africa. BMJ global health. 3(6): e000955-. doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2018-000955
Journal: BMJ global health; Vol. 3, Issue 6 
While young people in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are at greatest risk of HIV acquisition, uptake of HIV prevention interventions among them has been limited. Interventions delivered through social connections have changed behaviour in many settings, but not to date in SSA. There is little systematic evidence on whom young SSA adults turn to for advice. We therefore conducted an exploratory cross-sectional study from whom young rural South Africans received support and sexual behaviour-specific advice.


We asked 119 18-34  year olds in rural KwaZulu-Natal about the important people in their lives who provided emotional, informational, financial, physical, social or other support. We also asked whether they had discussed sex or HIV prevention with each contact named. We used descriptive statistics and logistic regression to analyse support and advice provision patterns.


Respondents named 394 important contacts, each providing a mean of 1.7 types of support. Most contacts were relatives, same-gender friends or romantic partners. Relatives provided most informational, financial and physical support; friends and partners more social support and sexual advice. Respondents reported discussing sexual matters with 60% of contacts. Sources of support changed with age, from friends and parents, towards siblings and partners.


Sexual health interventions for young adults in rural South Africa may be able to harness friend and same-generation kin social ties through which sex is already discussed, and parental ties through which other forms of support are transmitted. The gender-segregated nature of social connections may require separate interventions for men and women.
ISSN: 2059-7908 (Online)
DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2018-000955
Appears in Collections:Research Publications (Health Sciences)

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat
Harling et al 2018.pdfPublished version983.83 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
BMJGH Copyright Clearance.docxCopyright Clearance192.2 kBMicrosoft Word XMLView/Open
Show full item record

Page view(s)

checked on Jul 15, 2024


checked on Jul 15, 2024

Google ScholarTM




Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.