Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 41  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 348-356

Knowledge and attitudes toward sexual health and common sexual practices among college students – A survey from Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India


Department of Psychiatry, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Packirisamy Thangadurai
Department of Psychiatry, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu - 632 002
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_441_18

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Background: Indian society is considered to have conservative attitudes regarding sex and is ambivalent about the concept of sex education. Previous reports suggest that a considerable proportion of Indian youth have inadequate sexual knowledge and hold a variety of sexual misconceptions. Methodological flaws limit the generalizability of some earlier studies. Aims: This study assessed knowledge and attitude toward sexual health and common sexual practices among college students in Tamil Nadu. Methodology: A total of 952 students from seven randomly selected colleges in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu participated in the survey. The survey questionnaire contained 51 questions on knowledge and attitude toward sexual health and common sexual practices and incorporated items from standardized questionnaires and additional questions suggested by a multidisciplinary group who work in the field. Results: Two hundred seventy-five students among those who completed the survey were women. Higher knowledge scores were associated with older age, male gender, being from a rural background, pursuing non-science streams, and being in postgraduate courses. Nonconservative attitudes were associated with older age, male gender, enrollment in non-science disciplines, discomfort with the family environment, and a religious family background. Conclusions: Sexual knowledge is inadequate and sexual misconceptions were widely prevalent in the population studied. School-based comprehensive sex education programs, which have been demonstrated to be effective in improving sexual health, could be used to deal with these lacunae in sexual health knowledge and attitudes.


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