Embarrassment as a key emotion in young people talking about sexual health

Edwin Roland Van Teijlingen, J. M. Reid, Janet Susan Shucksmith, Fiona Margaret Harris, Kathleen Lesley Philip, Mari Imamura, Janet Stephen Tucker, Gillian Penney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper highlights embarrassment as one of the often-ignored emotions of young people when it comes to discussing issues around sexual health. There have been many sexual health studies on knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of young people over the past two decades, but emotional aspects have been largely ignored, despite a growing literature in the sociology of emotion.

A qualitative approach was adopted in the form of focus group discussions, which included questions on sex education, sexual health campaigns and formal and informal sources of sexual health information and advice. Focus groups were conducted in secondary schools in and around Edinburgh and Aberdeen as part of a four-year evaluation study of a Scottish Demonstration Project on young people's sexual health: 'Healthy Respect'.

We conclude that is it important for policy makers and sexual health promoters to understand young people's notions of embarrassment. Not only are there elements of sex education that (some) young people perceive as embarrassing, they also sense embarrassment in those people providing them with sex education. Young people reported that both professionals (e.g. teachers and doctors) and their parents could be embarrassed about raising the topic of sexual health. Moreover, as one of the goals of sex education is to ensure an open and non-embarrassing attitude towards sex and sexuality, there is still a major gap between the aspirations of health educators and policy makers and the ways that young people experience such education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007

Fingerprint

emotion
sex education
health
attitude towards sex
health information
group discussion
sexuality
respect
secondary school
parents
sociology
campaign
educator
teacher
evaluation
education
experience
Group

Keywords

  • sexual health services
  • adolescence
  • school
  • Scotland
  • emotion
  • qualitative research
  • sex education
  • parents
  • focus groups
  • relationships

Cite this

Van Teijlingen, E. R., Reid, J. M., Shucksmith, J. S., Harris, F. M., Philip, K. L., Imamura, M., ... Penney, G. (2007). Embarrassment as a key emotion in young people talking about sexual health. Sociological Research Online, 12(2). https://doi.org/10.5153/sro.1535

Embarrassment as a key emotion in young people talking about sexual health. / Van Teijlingen, Edwin Roland; Reid, J. M.; Shucksmith, Janet Susan; Harris, Fiona Margaret; Philip, Kathleen Lesley; Imamura, Mari; Tucker, Janet Stephen; Penney, Gillian.

In: Sociological Research Online, Vol. 12, No. 2, 03.2007.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Van Teijlingen, ER, Reid, JM, Shucksmith, JS, Harris, FM, Philip, KL, Imamura, M, Tucker, JS & Penney, G 2007, 'Embarrassment as a key emotion in young people talking about sexual health', Sociological Research Online, vol. 12, no. 2. https://doi.org/10.5153/sro.1535
Van Teijlingen, Edwin Roland ; Reid, J. M. ; Shucksmith, Janet Susan ; Harris, Fiona Margaret ; Philip, Kathleen Lesley ; Imamura, Mari ; Tucker, Janet Stephen ; Penney, Gillian. / Embarrassment as a key emotion in young people talking about sexual health. In: Sociological Research Online. 2007 ; Vol. 12, No. 2.
@article{217b1512fb34479a969af8dfbf068c28,
title = "Embarrassment as a key emotion in young people talking about sexual health",
abstract = "This paper highlights embarrassment as one of the often-ignored emotions of young people when it comes to discussing issues around sexual health. There have been many sexual health studies on knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of young people over the past two decades, but emotional aspects have been largely ignored, despite a growing literature in the sociology of emotion. A qualitative approach was adopted in the form of focus group discussions, which included questions on sex education, sexual health campaigns and formal and informal sources of sexual health information and advice. Focus groups were conducted in secondary schools in and around Edinburgh and Aberdeen as part of a four-year evaluation study of a Scottish Demonstration Project on young people's sexual health: 'Healthy Respect'. We conclude that is it important for policy makers and sexual health promoters to understand young people's notions of embarrassment. Not only are there elements of sex education that (some) young people perceive as embarrassing, they also sense embarrassment in those people providing them with sex education. Young people reported that both professionals (e.g. teachers and doctors) and their parents could be embarrassed about raising the topic of sexual health. Moreover, as one of the goals of sex education is to ensure an open and non-embarrassing attitude towards sex and sexuality, there is still a major gap between the aspirations of health educators and policy makers and the ways that young people experience such education.",
keywords = "sexual health services, adolescence, school, Scotland, emotion, qualitative research, sex education, parents , focus groups, relationships",
author = "{Van Teijlingen}, {Edwin Roland} and Reid, {J. M.} and Shucksmith, {Janet Susan} and Harris, {Fiona Margaret} and Philip, {Kathleen Lesley} and Mari Imamura and Tucker, {Janet Stephen} and Gillian Penney",
year = "2007",
month = "3",
doi = "10.5153/sro.1535",
language = "English",
volume = "12",
journal = "Sociological Research Online",
issn = "1360-7804",
publisher = "Sociological Research Online",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Embarrassment as a key emotion in young people talking about sexual health

AU - Van Teijlingen, Edwin Roland

AU - Reid, J. M.

AU - Shucksmith, Janet Susan

AU - Harris, Fiona Margaret

AU - Philip, Kathleen Lesley

AU - Imamura, Mari

AU - Tucker, Janet Stephen

AU - Penney, Gillian

PY - 2007/3

Y1 - 2007/3

N2 - This paper highlights embarrassment as one of the often-ignored emotions of young people when it comes to discussing issues around sexual health. There have been many sexual health studies on knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of young people over the past two decades, but emotional aspects have been largely ignored, despite a growing literature in the sociology of emotion. A qualitative approach was adopted in the form of focus group discussions, which included questions on sex education, sexual health campaigns and formal and informal sources of sexual health information and advice. Focus groups were conducted in secondary schools in and around Edinburgh and Aberdeen as part of a four-year evaluation study of a Scottish Demonstration Project on young people's sexual health: 'Healthy Respect'. We conclude that is it important for policy makers and sexual health promoters to understand young people's notions of embarrassment. Not only are there elements of sex education that (some) young people perceive as embarrassing, they also sense embarrassment in those people providing them with sex education. Young people reported that both professionals (e.g. teachers and doctors) and their parents could be embarrassed about raising the topic of sexual health. Moreover, as one of the goals of sex education is to ensure an open and non-embarrassing attitude towards sex and sexuality, there is still a major gap between the aspirations of health educators and policy makers and the ways that young people experience such education.

AB - This paper highlights embarrassment as one of the often-ignored emotions of young people when it comes to discussing issues around sexual health. There have been many sexual health studies on knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of young people over the past two decades, but emotional aspects have been largely ignored, despite a growing literature in the sociology of emotion. A qualitative approach was adopted in the form of focus group discussions, which included questions on sex education, sexual health campaigns and formal and informal sources of sexual health information and advice. Focus groups were conducted in secondary schools in and around Edinburgh and Aberdeen as part of a four-year evaluation study of a Scottish Demonstration Project on young people's sexual health: 'Healthy Respect'. We conclude that is it important for policy makers and sexual health promoters to understand young people's notions of embarrassment. Not only are there elements of sex education that (some) young people perceive as embarrassing, they also sense embarrassment in those people providing them with sex education. Young people reported that both professionals (e.g. teachers and doctors) and their parents could be embarrassed about raising the topic of sexual health. Moreover, as one of the goals of sex education is to ensure an open and non-embarrassing attitude towards sex and sexuality, there is still a major gap between the aspirations of health educators and policy makers and the ways that young people experience such education.

KW - sexual health services

KW - adolescence

KW - school

KW - Scotland

KW - emotion

KW - qualitative research

KW - sex education

KW - parents

KW - focus groups

KW - relationships

U2 - 10.5153/sro.1535

DO - 10.5153/sro.1535

M3 - Article

VL - 12

JO - Sociological Research Online

JF - Sociological Research Online

SN - 1360-7804

IS - 2

ER -