Aims and objectives. The purpose of this study was to test a process model that assesses the relationship of sexual health knowledge and normative beliefs to sexual health behavioural intention, with sexual self-concept as a mediating variable. The model is intended to assist in the prediction of which adolescents would exhibit a lower intention to engage in protective sexual health behaviour.
Background. Previous research has shown that sexual-related behaviours are associated with sexual self-concept, sexual health knowledge and perceived parental/peer approval of sexual behaviour.
Design. This study is a cross-sectional research.
Methods. This study was conducted with 545 adolescent girls, aged 12–15 years, from eight junior high schools in Taiwan. Participants were assessed using the Sexual Self-Concept Inventory, the Sexual Health Behavior Intention Scale, the Parental Approval of Sexual Behavior Scale (PASB), the Friends’ Approval of Sexual Behavior Scale and the Sexual Health Knowledge Scale. Data were analysed using structural equation modelling, with the maximum likelihood estimate determined by the LISREL 8.52 program.
Results. The model exhibited adequate fit (goodness-of-fit index = 0·96, adjusted goodness-of-fit index = 0·94, normed fit index = 0·96, comparative fit index = 0·98, standardised root mean square residual = 0·049 and root mean square error of approximation = 0·048) and the findings indicate that sexual self-concept was a significant influence on the relationship of sexual health knowledge and normative beliefs to sexual health behavioural intention.
Conclusions. The results of this study revealed the importance of sexual self-concept for adolescent girls’ sexual health behaviour.
Relevance to clinical practice. Evidence-based strategies that reinforce and clarify sexual self-concept as a mediating factor may aid in adolescent females’ intention to engage in protective sexual health behaviour.