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Engaging Youth in Sexual Health Research: Refining a “Youth Friendly” Method in the Northern Territory, Australia


  • Richard Chenhall,

  • Belinda Davison,

  • Joseph Fitz,

  • Tiffanie Pearse,

  • Kate Senior


This article describes the application and adaptation of body mapping as a tool for exploring sexual health and sexual decision making among young people aged 16–25. It argues that while body mapping engaged youth to discuss general health issues, young people were reluctant to engage with issues related to sexual health, due to feelings of shame and fear of stigma. Sexual health case scenarios were developed and used in conjunction with body-mapping exercises. The use of scenarios was an effective way to explore sensitive information, while protecting young people from revealing any specific identifiable information about themselves. In this article, we suggest that utilizing a combination of methodological approaches (the visual body maps and written case scenarios) in sexual health research with young people has the potential to enhance and enrich the quality of the data, and allow for a safe and enabling environment. This is particularly important where long-term fieldwork might be difficult or constrained.