BACKGROUND: Parental verbal communication may influence the sexual knowledge of senior secondary school students in Enugu State, Nigeria.
METHODS: This study utilized a school based cross-sectional study design and was conducted across the six education zones of Enugu State using three-stage sampling technique. A total of 400 respondents completed the interviewer administered questionnaires on their socio-demographics, sexual knowledge and parents’ information on verbal communication skills. Obtainable knowledge scores for sexuality ranged between 0-10; scores of 1-5 were classified as poor and 6-10 as good. Data analysis for the quantitative data was done using IBM SPSS; version 22. Chi square test of statistical significance and multivariate analysis using binary logistic regression were used in the analysis, and the level of significance was set at a p value of less than 0.05.
RESULTS: Out of the 400 respondents, 55.5% were girls. The mean age (SD) of the respondents was 15.9 ± 1.3 years. Although 15.5% and 8.8% of the respondents were very comfortable discussing sexually related matters with their mothers and fathers only 34.8% and 16.0% of mothers and fathers were comfortable discussing such matters with the respondents. Less than half of the respondents (42.5%) had good sexual knowledge. Verbal sexual communication between parents and respondents and age above 16 years were found to be predictors of good sexual knowledge.
CONCLUSIONS: Poor parental verbal communication led to the poor knowledge of sexuality among the respondents. Parents should be encouraged to discuss sexuality matters with their children.
KEYWORDS: Parents, Verbal communication, Sexual Knowledge, Students, Nigeria