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Cult Health Sex. 2014;16(4):381-96. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2014.886723. Epub 2014 Mar 6.

'The family is only one part …': understanding the role of family in young Thai women's sexual decision making.

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  • 1a Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London , London , UK.


This study aims to understand young Thai women's perspectives about family influences on their sexual decisions with the goal of informing the future development of HIV programmes and interventions for young Thai women in urban areas. Eight focus groups were conducted with 40 young single women aged 18-25 years, recruited through a peer network of key informants from four sites across Bangkok: universities, government offices, slums and garment factories. Predetermined topics relating to family, sexual decisions and HIV were discussed with 4-5 participants in each group. Qualitative thematic and framework-analysis techniques were used to explore participants' narratives. Findings suggest that young Thai women's sexual decisions are complex and take place under a wide range of personal, familial and social influences. Parents were perceived as a barrier to parent-child communication about sex and HIV. Young women regarded mothers as more supportive and receptive than fathers when discussing sensitive topics. Young Thai women described a tension between having a strong sense of self and modern sexual norms versus traditionally conservative relational orientations. Future HIV interventions could benefit by developing strategies to consider barriers to parent-child communication, strengthening family relationships and addressing the coexistence of conflicting sexual norms in the Thai context.


HIV; Thailand; family influence; sexual decision making; young women

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