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

Meagley, Kathryn Leigh (2013)
Master's Thesis (66 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Dunkle, Kristin L
Committee Members: Elifson, Kirk
Research Fields: Health Sciences, Public Health
Partnering Agencies: University, college or educational institution (other than Emory)
Keywords: South Africa; sociocultural context; social network; gender roles; gender identity; youth; help seeking behavior
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education
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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

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 -- REFERENCES -- 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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