Levels and sources of adolescents' sexual knowledge in traditional societies: A cross-sectional study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gender rules, patriarchy, and cultural taboos on sexual issues in traditional societies may compel adolescents to seek sexual information from informal and inadequate sources. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine whether the level and sources of sexual knowledge differed by gender in the traditional community comprising Palestinian-Israeli high school students. Guided by the Human Ecological Systems Model and informed by a community-based participatory research approach, a convenience sample of high school students (n = 558) was recruited. Although findings indicated that both boys and girls had low levels of sexual knowledge, the areas of knowledge deficits varied by gender. The model demonstrated good fit for boys but not for girls. Post hoc analyses indicated that girls obtained sexual knowledge solely from close family members, while boys obtained sexual knowledge from multiple sources. Very few students of either gender obtained sexual knowledge from doctors or nurses, but with community input on cultural issues, nurses can play a pivotal role in creating comprehensive, school-based sex education for adolescents living in traditional societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-129
Number of pages10
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Nursing & Health Sciences published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.


  • adolescents
  • sex differences
  • sex education
  • sexual knowledge
  • sources of information
  • traditional society

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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