FACTORS INFLUENCING SEXUAL INVOLVEMENT AND SEXUAL INVOLVEMENT AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN IBADAN



COURSE CODE:              PSY 733
COURSE TITLE:              RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY

ABSTRACT
The study evaluated the factors that influence adolescents to engaging in sexual activity and level of involvement in sexual activity among adolescents in Ibadan. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods of research the participants were thirty-seven. Seven of them (4 males and 3 females) constituted the focus group discussion while the other thirty filled the questionnaire. The questionnaire was developed mostly from the outcome of the qualitative study. Factors like youth culture, electronic and print media and peer pressure. Testing for the first hypothesis using t-test for independent measures, being a male (mean=17.50) came out significant at .001 (less than 1% error variance) level of significance. In the second hypothesis, age (mean= .343) seem to be an influencing factor significant at the significance level of .05 (less than 5% error variance). Parents should not make sex a big deal and they should talk about sex talks with their adolescents, explaining the risk involved. Parenting program and sex educational be organized to train parents and adolescents respectively how to cope with adolescent stage.


INTRODUCTION
Knowing why adolescents are involved in sex is critical to understanding their sexual behavior. For example, having sex for enhancement (pleasure) motives has been linked to sexual behaviors that increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy or both. Having sex for intimacy reasons, however, also has been associated with more frequent sex (Dawson, LH; Shih, MC; de moor, C; Shrier, L, 2008).
 Many people imagine an adolescent as being a gangly, awkward, and troublesome individual. Researchers shared this view until quite recently. This period of life (generally considered to run from age ten to age twenty-five) was seen as a time of "storm and stress." But what is adolescent development really like? Clearly it is a time of great change on many levels. Probably most dramatic are the biological changes associated with puberty. These changes include dramatic shifts in the shape of the body, increases in hormones, and changes in brain architecture. These biological shifts are directly linked to changes in sexual interest, cognitive capacities, and physical capacities. There are also major social changes associated with the school-linked transitions and with changes in the roles adolescents are expected to play by all those around them.
In humans, mature sexual desire usually begins to appear with the onset of puberty. Sexual expressions can take the form of masturbation or sex with a partner. Sexual interests among adolescents, adults, can vary greatly. Sexual activity in general is associated with a number of risks, including sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV/AIDS) and unwanted pregnancy. This is considered particularly true for young adolescents, as adolescents' brains are not neurally mature (several brain regions in the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex and in the hypothalamus important for self control, delayed gratification, and risk analysis and appreciation are not fully mature until ages 25-30). Partially because of this, most adolescents are deemed less emotionally mature and are not financially self-sufficient.
 Since the onset of sexuality is at puberty which is apparent at the adolescent stage then it is obvious they will feel sexual urges. In Nigeria sex is believed to be for married people that are adults. Adolescents know this too but they have their sexuality triggered by some factors available in the society, it could be accidental or intentional. For example TV watching, an adolescent could stomp on a movie and not know a sex scene is in it, at the same time an adolescent will buy and watch a porno film. 
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of carrying out this study is;
·         To know the prevalence of sexual involvement of Nigerian adolescents.
·         To know the factors that influences them to involving themselves in sexual activities.
·         To tests for variables they claim to influence them to involvement in sexual activities.
·         To know the perspective(s) to address the situation.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objective of this study is to address some of the limitations of previous research by identifying the Nigerian adolescent’s reason for involvement in sexual activity and prevalence since most of adolescent sexuality researches are done abroad which may not be totally true of Nigerian adolescents.
To know the level of involvement of Nigerian adolescents in sexual activities.
To bring to the notice of adolescents and parents on what could possibly trigger the sexuality of the adolescents and how to help them cope.
To make qualitative recommendation and intervention program to reduce teenage sexuality and risks involved in it.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
·         Used very few participants
·         The research suffered short time frame
·         The researcher focused on Ibadan alone when adolescents can be found in other parts of Nigeria for broader outcome
REVIEW OF RELATED STUDIES
Many studies have been carried out on reasons why adolescents involve themselves in sex.  Previous studies' participants ranged from high school students (Stone & Ingham, 2002), to adolescents presenting to a medical clinic for STI treatment (Dawson et al., 2008), to college undergraduates who currently were dating someone (Dawson et al., 2008). Reasons for having sex were assessed by asking how important each listed reason was in the respondents' sexual relations (Dawson et al., 2008), how often they personally had sex for each of a list of reasons (Dawson et al., 2008).
The studies have indicated that at least four factors may contribute to differences in why adolescents have sex. They are age, gender, relationship status in quest for intimacy and motivational level of risk behavior that individuals are motivated to engage in the behavior to enhance positive affect or reduce negative affect (Dawson et al., 2008). These gender differences, however, have not been consistently observed (Dawson et al., 2008).  Age has been associated with different reasons for having sex. Consistent with the need to establish intimate relationships as part of healthy adolescent development (Dawson et al., 2008)  Similarly, a longitudinal study of female adolescent clinic patients found that girls who were 17 or older at first coitus were more likely than younger girls to report being in love and feeling romantic as reasons for sex (Dawson et al., 2008).
In another research titled ‘watching sex on television predicts adolescent initiation of sexual behavior’ (Collins, Elliot, Berry, Kanouse, Kunkel, Hunter & Miu, 2004). A national longitudinal survey of 1792 adolescents was carried out within 12-17 years of age. Participants reported their TV viewing habits and sexual experience and responded to measures of more than a dozen factors known to be associated with adolescent sexual initiation. Analysis indicated that adolescents who viewed more sexual content at baseline were more likely to initiate intercourse and progress to more advanced non-coital sexual activities during the subsequent year, controlling for respondent characteristics that might otherwise explain these relationships. Watching sex on TV predicts and may hasten adolescent sexual initiation. Collins et el came up with the recommendation that reducing the amount of sexual content in entertainment programming, reducing adolescent exposure to this content, or increasing references to and depictions of possible negative consequences of sexual activity could appreciably delay the initiation of coital and non-coital activities. Alternatively, parents may be able to reduce the effects of sexual content by watching TV with their adolescents and discussing their own beliefs about sex.
To better appreciate the topic ‘factors influencing sexual involvement and sexual involvement among adolescents’, theories will be used to explain and elaborate.
THEORIES OF ADOLESCENT SEXUALITY
So many theories in developmental psychology explain the developmental stage of an adolescent. According to Erik Erikson (1968) in his socio-psychological development he stated that “adolescence is the stage from 10- 20 years of age”. It is the stage when the individual is in search of identity, if the search is not achieved then there is identity confusion. The individual is faced with the finding out who they are, what they are about and where they are going in life adolescents are confronted with many new roles and adult statuses such as vocational and romantic. It is a stage of stress and storm.  This is the stage individuals find it difficult to trust people especially adults and most especially their parents, they never seem to do anything right in the sight of their parents which piss them off. The adolescents acknowledged that they can be very stubborn because they feel they are right about some things they do and know what they are doing. There is physiological, cognitive and biological growth. It is the stage of puberty when so many sexual characteristics begin to grow. For the girls there is onset of menstruation, breast enlargement, hips and body curves growth. As for the boys there is strength in the voice, the penis enlarges, broader chests amongst others. Most of the behaviors adolescents portray are as a result of their thought processes. 
Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development places adolescents in the fourth stage which is the formal operational stage. At this stage according to Piaget it is a stage of abstract, idealistic and logical reasoning. It is the stage of hypothetical reasoning which is the adolescent’s ability to develop hypotheses, or best hunches, about ways to solve problems. They then systematically deduce, or conclude which is the best path to follow to solve the problem. Adolescents at this stage are of the believe that they are smart and are capable of take decisions on their own which includes decision about keeping relationship with the opposite sex, their sexuality and relations with the larger society. Adolescent sexuality is a concern to researchers that is why Crooks and Bauer took time to explain the phenomenon.
The adolescent sexuality theory according to Crooks, Bauer (1999) states that, “cognitive world plays an important role in our sexuality”. Thoughts and images are extensively involved in adolescents and adult sexual lives. Adolescents might be attracted to someone but understands that it is important to inhibit sexual urge until adulthood, what they think of it, what they have seen of sex and what they have heard of sex will either make them inhibit or go for sex. Cognitive interpretation of sex also involves whom they want to have sex with or whom they are having sex with.  Tracing back to the psychosexual stages of Sigmund Freud, he stated that ‘every individual from childhood have sexual feelings’. The society expects such sexuality be expressed at the adulthood stage.      
OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Adolescents, for this study they are the teenage age from 13 - 19 years of age.
Sexual involvement is the practice of
·         Teenage relationship; adolescents’ involvement in love relationship with the opposite sex
·         Masturbation; adolescents’ self relief of sexual urge.
·         Romance; inclusion of kissing and smooching
·         Coitus sex; sexual relations with the opposite sex.
·         Non-coitus sex; specifically oral sex with same or opposite sex.
Factors influencing sexual involvement;
·         Print media (romance novels, sex magazines).
·         Electronic media (sex inclined television program, internet).
·         Youth culture; music (songs with sexual lyrics), dancing (in parties).
·         Peer group.
METHODOLOGY
The research was carried out using snowballing sampling technique and simple randomization sampling technique thereby given all the adolescents equal right to participate. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were used. The researcher carried out a focus group discussion as the qualitative method before constructing the questionnaire which was the quantitative method. The snowballing technique was used for the qualitative study while the simple randomization was used for the quantitative study respectively.
The participants
The participants were secondary school adolescents from both private and public schools in Ibadan. Their ages ranges from 13 – 19 years, 37 participants were used. Four males and three females made up the focus group discussant while the remaining 30 filled the questionnaire. Out of the 30 respondents that filled the questionnaire 20 of them are females while 10 of them are males.
Setting
The focus group setting was carried out among seven adolescents from different schools living in Ibadan. The group comprises of four males and three females. It was carried out in a home setting to make the adolescents more relaxed.  As for the quantitative study the questionnaires were taken to the school setting in their various schools.
Procedure
The qualitative study was carried out before the quantitative study. At the focus group level the participants were asked to introduce themselves not necessarily telling their real name but their actual age was told to the researcher. Each of them was asked questions from the discussion guide. The discussion guide comprises initially of seven questions, as the discussion went on two questions were added to the initial questions.

HYPOTHESIS
The following hypothesis will be tested
·         ‘Being a male will influence adolescent’s involvement in sexual activity than being a female’
(T-test for independent measures)
·         ‘Age will have a positive relationship with adolescent’s involvement in sexual activity than factors like youth culture, electronic media, print media and peer pressure.
(Regression analysis)

RESULT
Hypothesis one
Table 1: Independent group t-test table distribution of influence of gender on adolescent’s sexual involvement

gender
N
Mean
SD
df
T
Sig
Sexual involvement
Male
10
17.50
4.97
28
3.761
.001
female
20
11.20
3.98
 With a total number of 30 participants the mean distribution of males against females is 6.30. The t- score of 3.761 is significant at the level less than .001 error variance that is, the probability of an error occurring is less than 1%.  From the table since the males have the higher mean score (17.50) implies that being male is a factor that influence adolescents involvement in sexual activity. Being a female (mean=11.20) has no influence on adolescent sexual involvement.
Hypothesis two
Table 2: Regression analysis of relationship between youth culture, electronic media, print media, peer pressure, gender and age on adolescent involvement in sexual activity

Beta
Sig.
R
R2
F
Sig
(Constant)





.773a



.598



5.703



.001a
Youth culture
-.234
>.05
Electronic  media
.172
>.05
Print media
.273
>.05
Peer pressure
-.538
>.05
age    
.375
<.01
Gender
-.343
<.05


Table 2 shows the regression coefficient (R square =.598) and an F- ratio (5.703) significant at less than 1% error variance. The factors youth culture (.234), electronic media (.172), print media (.273) and peer pressure (.538) was significant at the level greater than .05 error variance that is, the probability of error variance is greater than 5% which is not acceptable in psychology. Age (.375) and gender (.343) seems to be significant at level less than .05 that is, probability of error is less than 5%. Significance at this level is acceptable. This implies that age and gender influences adolescents involvement in sexual activity.
DISCUSSION
The exposure level of the Nigerian adolescents to sex is surprising and alarming. At the group discussion level the participants were asked to give a percentage rating of prevalence of sex among adolescents, the percentage they gave was outrageous but trying to hold a point that really adolescents are very much sexually active. They gave percentage average of 72% meaning 72 adolescents out of a 100 are sexually active.
According to the adolescents the reasons why they involve themselves in sexual activities are;
·         To please their boyfriends
·         To go against parent’s will
·         Because they see others doing it
·         Because they see their parents do it and it raises their curiosity
·         For the fun of it
·         Through television viewing of sex inclined films and programs
·         Peer pressure
·         Hormonal problem
·         Separated parents
The participants listed the various type of sex adolescents engage in, they mentioned
·         Oral sex
·         Anal sex
·         Masturbation
·         Homosexuality and lesbianism
·         Romance, kissing
·         Sex with the opposite gender
Some of the factors listed out by the focus group participants made up the larger part of the items in the questionnaire.
The first hypothesis proves that being a male as a direct influence of sexual involvement among adolescents. According to other studies carried out male gender is seen to be more vulnerable to social facilitation. They are believed to have higher sexual libido than females (Ge, Conger, and Elder, 2001; Strauch, B. 2003). Males at the adolescent stage begins to have sense of dependence higher than that of a female, they feel they are grown and want to do things the way they feel is best even if goes against some social rules. Male adolescents finds it easy to branch at a porno shop to buy a porno film, he can decide to read whatever he wants anytime. These and so many male characteristics factor that are not listed here must have implication involvement in sexual activity. Males engage in keeping girl-friends, masturbating, asking for romance and sex from their girl- friends. Thus, most of Nigerian adolescents show aversion for homosexuality and anal sex but some do engage to in oral sex.
The second hypothesis analysis shows that age as an influence on adolescent sexuality. The age category is between 15- 19 years. Adolescents within this category are close to early adulthood, their cognition is becoming more hypothetic, adolescents are beginning to find answers to their identity confusion questions. For both male and female age is significant. At a point in time they begin to be more free and vocal with friends, new and strange feelings become more noticable, curiosity increases. Some adolescents at this stage learn to handle their emotions while other are exploratory.
RECOMMENDATION
There are so many sex-related topics adolescents want to talk about but they don’t know if they can trust their parents not to scold them or have their adult friends keep it a secret, parents should not make a big deal about sex. They should be able to talk about it from an early age of seven. One of the focus group discussant said her mother talked to her about it when she was ten and the point she felt ‘why are you telling me, am not having sex’.
More attention should be given to boys at teenage age because they are more vulnerable to indiscriminate sex. Middle adolescent stage should be monitored carefully for both male and female adolescents.
Parents should not criticize their children when watching films that could co-incidentally have sex scenes rather they watch it with the adolescent and explain further what is not clear through it they should be educated on when to have sex.
There are so many cues out there encouraging our adolescents to want and eventually have sex. These cues are musical lyrics, romance novel, sex magazines amongst others. Knowledge of these cues are majorly influenced by peers. They introduce themselves to this factors causing adolescent involvement in sexual activity. Parents cannot follow their adolescents to school but they can keep a very close and intimate relationship with their adolescents so that whenever such things are seen or told about by their friends they find it easy to come home and tell. By this, influence risk will be minimized and proper education and caution will be given to the teenager.
Parenting skills and style of training adolescent should be learnt because how they were handled will have to change in order to get the best out of them.
More sex education and unprotected sex risks should be discussed with the adolescents by psychologists, doctors and the school teacher. The doctors are important so as to explain vividly the physiological implication of the diseases.
CONCLUSION
It may not be surprising to know that Nigerian adolescents are this exposed to so much of sexuality, but necessary education and clear analysis of what sex is, who, how and when it should be performed. The Yoruba belief is that sex is for only the married and that staying a virgin till the wedding night is respectable, valuable and modellabe to other members of the society.  

RESEARCH SCALES
The qualitative questions asked are;
Who is an Adolescent?
 Do adolescents engage in sex activity?
What is sex?
 Mention the types of sex you know?
With whom do the adolescents have sex?
Why do they have sex?
How often do they engage in sexual activity?
What are the factors that influence adolescents to having sex and narrate and incidence you know of?

REFERENCES   
Centers for Disease Control (2005). Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Collins., Elliot, Berry, Kanouse, Kunkel, Hunter & Miu, (2004) Parent-Child Relationships in    the Transition to Adolescence: Continuity and Change in Interaction, Affect, and Cognition." In Raymond Montemayor, Gerald Adams, and Thomas Gullotta eds., From Childhood to Adolescence: A Transitional Period? Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1990.
Crooks, R., Bauer, K (1999) our sexuality (7ty edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Dawson, LH; Shih, MC; de moor, C; Shrier, L (2008) Reasons why adolescents and young adults have sex: association with psychological characteristics and sexual behavior. United States
Erik Erikson (1968). Identity : youth and crisis. New York: W.W. Norton
Ge, X., Conger, R., and Elder, G. 2001. Pubertal transition, stressful life events, and the emergence of gender differences in adolescent depressive symptoms. Developmental Psychology, 37(3), 404-417.
Jean Piaget (1952). ‘Origin of intelligence in children’. New York: oxford university press.
Santrock, J.W (2001) psychology; New York. Mc Graw Hill,
Strauch, B. 2003. The Primal Teen. New York: Doubleday
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