Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Gender, Religiosity and Self-Esteem as Predictors of Sexual Attitudes of Students in a Nigerian Tertiary Institution

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Gender, Religiosity and Self-Esteem as Predictors of Sexual Attitudes of Students in a Nigerian Tertiary Institution

Article excerpt

Several studies on sexual attitudes among students in Nigeria have focused on university students; leaving out other categories of students in tertiary institutions. This study therefore investigated gender, religiosity and self esteem as predictors of sexual attitudes among polytechnic students in Nigeria. Using a cross sectional survey design, five hundred (500) students (212 males and 288 females) were purposively selected for the study. Questionnaire comprises of demographic information, self esteem scale and sexual attitudes scale was used for data collection. The participants' ages range from 15 to 35 years (X =22.28, SD= 3.17). Results showed that religiosity independently and significantly predicted sexual attitudes (β = .16; P<.05). All the predictor variables jointly predicted sexual attitudes F (9,436) = 2.12, P<.05 with 40% variation in dependent variable. There was no gender difference in sexual attitudes of students (t=1.14; df =498; P>.05). Self-esteem did not significantly influence sexual attitudes of students (t=0.37; df =498; P>.05. The finding suggests continuous religious inculcation in the mind of the Nigerian students in the tertiary institutions and their frequent involvement in religious activities to promote conservative sexual attitudes and help reduce sexual risk behavior in the population.

Keywords: Sexual attitudes, self-esteem, religiosity, gender, tertiary institutions, students.


Most studies carried out regarding sexual attitudes and behavior among Nigerian students appear to have focused more on the universities students leaving out a substantial category of young students in the polytechnic tertiary institutions. Students of tertiary institutions today seem to continue to engage more in pre-marital sex, homosexuality, oral sex, abortion than ever before; perhaps because of their liberal sexual attitudes. Many abstinence-based programs implemented to encourage younger students to wait until marriage before having sex and stop engaging in risk sexual behavior have not shown any significant effect in their sexual behaviours (Laksmana, 2003). It is important to know factors responsible for sexual attitudes among students in tertiary institution. This knowledge will help in developing strategies and intervention programmes in reducing sexual risk behaviours such as irregularity and incorrect condom use, multiple sexual partners, indiscriminate sex, spread of HIV/ AIDS and other STDs among others in Nigerian students' population.

Various studies from different parts of Nigeria have demonstrated increased level of risky sexual behaviours among students in universities (Olley 8c Rotimi, 2001; Fadiora, Oboro, Akinwusi, Adeoti, Bello 8c Ebgewale, 2002) and their sexual attitudes have been reported to have significant contribution. For instance, Adam (1990) reported that liberal sexual attitudes have been found to relate strongly with sexual behaviors such as first sexual intercourse of both male and female. The morbidities that may accompany unprotected sexual intercourse are sometimes grave and include unwanted pregnancies, abortions and increase risk of infections with HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as reproductive problems later in life (Araoye, 1995).

Relating sexual attitudes to sexual risk behaviour, Odimegwu (2005) reported the behavioural consequences of sexual attitudes of Nigerian students in tertiary institutions their mean age of first intercourse was 17.0 years for males and 19.1 years for females. He found that male students were more likely to have had sex and to engage in unsafe sex. Also, there were no obvious differences between the genders in the numbers of samesex partners. Other sexual activities reported by Odimegwu indicated that 53.8% had experienced intercourse, and 24.4% reported more than one regular sex partner. It was found that male students displayed more liberal sexual attitudes than female students. …

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