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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Perceptions of sexual abstinence among Muslim adolescent girls in southern Thailand

Jitlada Piriyasart
  • Corresponding author
  • Faculty of Nursing, Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus, Songkla, 94000, Thailand, Phone: 0866283040
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/ Praneed Songwathana / Susan Kools
Published Online: 2018-04-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0119



Sex before marriage among Muslim adolescents is becoming a serious issue in Muslim societies exemplified by an increasing incidence of teenage pregnancy. Sexual abstinence is an optimal goal for adolescent health from an Islamic perspective. Muslim adolescent girls’ perceptions have not been investigated, therefore, we lack understanding of their strengths and the risks that may contribute to outcomes such as pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.


The purpose of this investigation was to characterize Muslim adolescent girls’ perceptions of sexual abstinence.


This participatory action study was conducted at an Islamic school in southern Thailand. Twenty-five girls, ages 12–14 years old, were purposively selected to participate in the study. Content analysis was used for data analysis.


Two salient themes were discovered that characterize Muslim adolescent girls’ perceptions about sexual abstinence: sexual abstinence is a means of self-protection and sex outside marriage is restricted by Islam, but it seems to be difficult to adhere to.


Religious values, family and peers play a central role in shaping thoughts and decisions about abstaining from sex. The integration of religious principles with building practical refusal skills, is needed to promote Muslim adolescent health.

Keywords: adolescent girls; focus group; in-depth interview; Muslim; sexual abstinence


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About the article

Received: 2017-07-12

Accepted: 2017-11-05

Published Online: 2018-04-30

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20170119, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0119.

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