The Sociocultural Context of Help Seeking Behaviors of Youth in Soweto, South Africa Open Access

Meagley, Kathryn Leigh (2013)

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Within the last couple of decades there has been an increased recognition that behaviors are a manifestation of social context and culture. However, there is a lack of understanding of how the community context and local culture affect general help seeking behaviors of young people, especially in South Africa. The present study was conducted in Soweto, South Africa, and explored the sociocultural context of help seeking behaviors among youth using in-depth interviews. We found that the process of seeking health information and services was indirectly affected by gender roles. Furthermore, the cultural context and gender roles played an even greater role when individuals were concerned about their sexual health. Social support networks formed as a result of gender norms. Young men and women choose to consult different individuals when they had specific health questions or concerns because their social support networks were unique. This has implications for the distribution and communication of health information among youth.

Table of Contents


CHAPTER 1: Background and Significance

CHAPTER 2: Literature Review

2.1 Key Elements of Sociocultural Context

2.1.1 Sources of Sexual Health Information

2.1.2 Gender and Help Seeking Behavior

2.2 Changing Sociocultural Context

2.3 Summary of Literature Review

CHAPTER 3: Methods

3.1 Setting and Sampling

3.2 In-Depth Interviews

3.3 Data Analysis

CHAPTER 4: Results

4.1 Gender Roles and Division of Labor

4.1.1 Domestic Responsibilities

4.1.2 Financial Responsibilities

4.2 Social Support Networks

4.2.1 Family Structure

4.2.2 Peers Groups

4.2.3 Religion

4.2.4 Role of Technology and Social Media

4.3 Pathways of Help Seeking Behaviors

4.3.1 General Health and Illness

4.3.2 Condoms/STIs/Birth Control and Sexual Health

CHAPTER 5: Discussion

5.1 Sociocultural Context

5.2 Help Seeking Behaviors

5.3 Conclusion

CHAPTER 6: Limitations


APPENDIX A: In-depth Interview Guide

APPENDIX B: Participant Recruitment Call Sheet

APPENDIX C: Informed Consent Sheet

APPENDIX D: IRB Exemption Letter

APPENDIX E: Collective Coding Tree

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