Combining photo-elicitation and discourse analysis to examine adolescents’ sexuality in rural Zambia
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal for Equity in Health. 2022, 21, 60. 10.1186/s12939-022-01662-z
Introduction This article aimed to analyse constructions of adolescents’ sexualities and sexual health and the consequences of these discourses for adolescents’ exercise of their sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in rural Zambia. Methods Interpretative repertoires, which is rooted in discursive psychology was used to analyse data from photo-elicitations interviews and focus group discussions. Our participants included 25 adolescents who participated in a SRHR intervention that aimed to reduce adolescents’ pregnancies and early marriages. Results We identified three interpretative repertories: 1) sex is for mature people in which adolescents positioned themselves as ‘immature, and young to engage in sex; 2) gendered respectful behaviours in which what was considered disrespectful (and respectful) behaviour in relation to sexuality were strongly influenced by gender, and more clearly defined for girls than it was for boys. Sexuality was not only about individual choices but about being respectful to parents; and 3) acquiring and using knowledge about sexuality in which adolescents conflicted between having and applying SRHR knowledge. Conclusion These repertories offer an important context that shape how adolescents negotiate, adopt and resist SRHR interventions. Future interventions that target adolescents’ SRHR must aim to address the sexual scripts that serve to erect barriers against positive sexual behaviours, including access to SRHR services that promote safer sex.