Mother-daughter communication about sexual maturation, abstinence and unintended pregnancy: experiences from an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya

Jo C Crichton, Latifat Ibisomi, Stephen Obeng Gyimah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Parental communication and support is associated with improved developmental, health and behavioral outcomes in adolescence. This study explores the quality of mother-daughter communication about sexual maturation, abstinence and unintended pregnancy in Korogocho, an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. We use data from 14 focus group discussions (n = 124) and 25 interviews with girls aged 12-17, mothers of teenage girls, and key informant teachers. Many girls and women believed that mothers are the best source of information and support during puberty but only a minority described good experiences with communication in practice. Girls preferred communication to begin early and be repeated regularly. Mothers often combined themes of sexual maturation, abstinence and avoiding pregnancy in their messages. Communication was facilitated by mothers' availability, warmth and close parent-child relationships. Challenges included communication taboos, embarrassment, ambiguous message content, and parental lack of knowledge and uncertainty. Neighborhood poverty undermined some mothers' time and motivation for communicating.
Translated title of the contributionMother-daughter communication about sexual maturation, abstinence and unintended pregnancy: experiences from an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21 - 30
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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