Name: Nadia Barnard
Student Number: 736052
Lecturer: Ms. Noleen Pillay
There are many factors that influence adolescents’ understanding of sexuality and these factors contribute to not only teenage pregnancy but also an increased HIV infection rate amongst South African youth. Some of these factors are unique to the South African context and when considering the complex integration processes surrounding religion, culture and a tumultuous political history, we come to learn that together, these factors have shaped the environment surrounding adolescent behaviour. This essay will investigate the most prominent of these factors and so substantiate the authors claim that teenagers’ beliefs on sexuality contributes to the escalating numbers of teenage pregnancies within South Africa. As a closing argument the findings will be presented against the Ecological Systems Theory formulated by Urie Bronfenbrenner.
During the adolescent phase of growth, which may be described as the teenage years between 13 and 19, teenagers enter a period of transition where they shift from childhood to adulthood (“Psychology Today”, 2015). How teenagers make sense of this transition and how they understand their sexuality, responsibilities and place within their communities, plays a key role when investigating the causes of and influences on teenage pregnancy. We may describe sexuality as “erotic desires, practices, identities or the aspects of personal and social life which have erotic significance” (Jackson, Stevi, & Scott, 1996). Factors that influence understanding and behaviour surrounding sexuality and sexual practices fall within the distal, proximal as well as personal contexts in which individuals exist. These contexts will be discussed throughout the paper in order to ascertain not only the contributing factors of rising teenage pregnancy but also aid in understanding the predominant discourse surrounding these communities as well as illustrate the...