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J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care. 2014 Oct;40(4):270-5. doi: 10.1136/jfprhc-2013-100856. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

Iranian adolescent girls' barriers in accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services: a qualitative study.

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Assistant Professor of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medicine Sciences, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
PhD Candidate, Reproductive Health, Shahroud University of Medical Sciences, Shahroud, Islamic Republic of Iran.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Research Centre of Psychiatry, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Gorgan, Golestan, Islamic Republic of Iran.
Assistant Professor of Reproductive Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Islamic Republic of Iran.



Adolescence is a critical period of transition from childhood to adulthood. In today's world, to pass through this period successfully it is necessary to have adequate information and knowledge about sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues. In Iran, it is crucial that special attention be paid to reproductive health services for adolescents, especially for girls.


This study aimed to explore the views and experiences of adolescent girls and key adults around the barriers to access of Iranian adolescent girls to SRH information and services.


In this qualitative study, data were gathered through focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 247 adolescent girls and 71 key adults including mothers, teachers, health providers, governmental, nongovernmental and international managers of health programmes, health policymakers, sociologists and clergy in four Iranian cities. Data were coded and categorised using content analysis by MAXQDA10.


The main barriers identified were classified in four categories: (1) social and cultural barriers such as taboos; (2) structural and administrative barriers such as inappropriate structure of the health system; (3) political barriers such as lack of an adopted strategy by the government and (4) non-use of religious potential.


Adolescent SRH in Iran should be firmly established as a priority for government leaders and policymakers. They should try to provide those services that are consistent with the community's cultural and religious values for adolescent girls.


Iran; adolescent girls; barriers; qualitative research; sexual and reproductive health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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