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Maltese parents’ role as sexuality and relationships educators

Maltese parents’ role as sexuality and relationships educators

Farrugia, Joanne (2018) Maltese parents’ role as sexuality and relationships educators. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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This research study explored the parental perceptions, attitudes and knowledge regarding sexuality and relationships in Malta. A range of barriers and enhancing processes involved were addressed in order to understand the complex dynamics involved in the educative process within the family nucleus. The family was considered the fulcrum where, sexuality values would be cultivated from an early age and built upon, as children develop both physically, and cognitively. Children in adolescent years were also exposed to various images of sexuality and relationships through the media, the internet, and peers and were often in a position where they had to take decisions, which potentially could affect their present, and future. The local situation in Malta showed a steady incline in Sexually Acquired Infections, and the number of unplanned pregnancies in teenage years. Since sexuality was viewed as an essential element of any human being often incorporating various issues such as gender, sexual orientations, emotions, intimacy, pleasure, behaviours and relationships, it was considered important to address who, how, when and what was being addressed in the family nucleus. The family were considered to be in a crucial position to start nurturing such important values in children from a young age by adopting an open, sincere, non-judgmental and comprehensive manner. This study utilised a mixed method approach in order derive information from parents. Postal surveys were sent to a random sample of 2,000 mothers nationally who had 14/15 year old children (response rate 50.7%, n=1,014). Following the survey, four focus groups (n=50) were carried out to delve deeper into the dynamics of family practices. The four groups were drawn from different socio-economic groups in life and were inclusive of diversity, in terms of gender and sexual orientations. The parents in the focus group showed interest and provided perspectives regarding sexuality and relationships. The Unified Theory of Behaviour and the Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills and Habits (K.A.S.H) model were utilised to substantiate the theoretical constructs of the research tools, and information from parents. The use of statistical tools and thematic clustering of data identified a number of findings, unique to Maltese society. Key recommendations included empowering parents with the right skills, knowledge and attitudes in order to carry out their important educative role in children’s lives by being timely, open, honest and inclusive of diversity of gender and sexual orientations. Parents identified reliable sources such as Personal, Social and Career Development (PSCD) teachers who could help them out in their educative quest. Despite the limitations mentioned in this study, the researcher was confident that new information from the Maltese Islands was discovered which would give rise to future research and the act as basis for parental programmes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sexuality; relationships; Malta
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Education (EDU)
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2019 16:55

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