A quantitative study on the impact of peer influence on changes in sexual behaviour in Limpopo province
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HIV/AIDS is still a huge problem in rural SA. It follows, that appropriate successful interventions that contribute towards reducing sexual risk behaviour are very important to decrease the number of new HIV infections. The Ndlovu Care Group makes use of the CHAMP behavior change program to conduct safer sex under youth. Peer influence could play a big role in the success of the implementations of the program. For this reason it is important to understand the effect of peer influence. This research explores the influences that peers have on each other further, and explores how this influence can be used to improve the level of safe sexual behaviour. Here for the following research question has been formulated “Is there a change in sexual behaviour in young adults aged 12-18 at Tlou-Kwena high school in Dennilton in the Limpopo province, South Africa, following participation in the CHAMP behaviour change program and to what extent has a potential change been mediated by peer influence?” This has been studied by firstly measure if there is a behaviour change after implementation of the program and secondly to what extent that change is caused by the influence of peers. The dependent variable which has been used is attitude towards condom use. And the following independent variables were included in this study: background variables, knowledge about STI’s, openness about HIV, peer pressure, peer conformity and peer involvement. The study is conducted under SA youth in the age group 12-18, from Tlou-Kwena school in Dennilton, 74 of these students are included in the final sample. Use has been made of a questionnaire, which measured the situation before implementation of the program and the situation afterwards. The results of both measure moments have been compared and analysed. Based on the results, there could be concluded that there was a significant change for the students attitude towards condom use, which could have been caused by the role of peer influence, or more specific the lack of peer pressure. This could point at a behaviour change, but here for, more longitudinal, future research is recommended. Future research is also necessary to found more deepening in the exact role of peer influence.