Main Article Content
Background: Comprehensive sex education programs are most impactful when they are evidence-based and rooted in social theories that are proven to enhance adoption of healthy behaviours. This study used the reasoned action approach to investigate the socio-cognitive predictors of intention to delay sexual intercourse and to use a condom during next sexual intercourse.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of 714 in-school adolescents in Ikenne Local government Area, Southwest Nigeria who were selected through a multistage sampling method. Participants completed questionnaires that measured their socio-cognitive characteristics and the intention to delay sex and to use a condom during next sexual intercourse. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify significant predictors.
Results: The predictors of primary intention to delay sex were being male, older adolescents, having positive experiential attitude, positively perceived injunctive and descriptive norms. Whereas, the predictors of secondary intention to delay sex were family size greater than five, perceived capacity and autonomy about the delay of sexual intercourse; positively perceived descriptive norm and availability of a mentor. The predictors of intention to use condom among virgins were family size ≤5, perceived autonomy about condom use, positive instrumental attitude and positive perceived descriptive norm. Whereas the predictors of intention to use condoms among non-virgins participants were regular access to means of communication, perceived capacity, the teaching of sexual and reproductive health issues in school and availability of a mentor.
Conclusions: Reasoned action approach is effective in the determination of predictors of safe sex behaviours in Nigeria. It is, therefore, expedient that socio-cognitive factors especially the identified predictors should be factored into comprehensive sex education programmes for adolescents.