Exploring the sexual wellbeing of young people in remote rural island communities, their knowledge, needs and perceptions of support services

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Introduction

It has been identified that rural young people may face barriers to accessing support for their sexual wellbeing such as availability and transport, knowing healthcare staff personally, and fear of being judged negatively within their community. These factors may contribute to widen health inequalities and expose young people living in rural areas to increased risk of poor sexual wellbeing. Little is known about the current understandings and needs of adolescents residing in very remote rural island communities.

Methods

A mixed methods study was conducted with 473 adolescents aged 13-18 residing across the islands of the Outer Hebrides.  Data collected included survey and focus group. Analysis included descriptive and inferential statistics, and thematic analysis.



Results

60% of participants held the perception that there was no support or did not know how to access support and advice about condoms and contraception in their local area. 48% said that free condoms were not easily available for local young people. 60% said they would not use a youth service if it were locally available. 59% said they did not receive enough RSHP education. Significant differences were found in these perceptions between age, gender, and sexual orientation. Qualitative data identified key themes of a lack of anonymity in a small island community, poor communication with adults, stigma and shame, isolation and lack of access to services as barriers to seeking support.

Conclusion

A need for further sexual wellbeing support that addresses the complexities and challenges for young people residing in remote island communities is identified.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFSRH Virtual 2022 - Embracing a Holistic Future in SRH
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2022

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