AN EXAMINATION OF THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SOCIAL SUPPORT AND SEXUAL RISK TAKING BEHAVIOURS IN ADOLESCENTS IN NORTHERN NOVA SCOTIA
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The goals of sexual health programming in youth populations frequently focus on reducing sexual risk taking, as these behaviours can lead to sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. A focus on enhancing distal factors such as social support is starting to be considered of greater importance in adolescent sexual health programming. The purpose of this thesis was to examine the relationship between social support and sexual risk taking behaviours in school age youth in Northern Nova Scotia in 2000. Social support was found to be a factor in some sexual risk taking behaviours, with different relationships seen for males and females. Depression and self-esteem also influence the relationship between social support and some sexual risk taking behaviours. Health programming with a wholistic approach, including a focus the role of support and psycho-social variables, may be a positive way to reduce sexual risk taking behaviours and support healthy adolescent sexuality.