Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

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

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Ahead of print


Factors influencing engagement in premarital sex among Vietnamese young adults: a qualitative study

Thanh-Hang DinhORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9197-1384 / E.R. van TeijlingenORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5523-8583
Published Online: 2019-04-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2018-0201



With the rising trend of sexual engagement among Vietnamese young adults in recent years, concerns were raised over the issue of premarital sex and its potential health consequences. In order to prevent such consequences and further promote health, an in-depth understanding of factors influencing young people to have premarital sex would be valuable.


To generate a grounded theory explaining factors influencing engagement in premarital sex among Vietnamese young adults.


Vietnamese adults aged 18–24 who have voluntarily engaged in premarital sex (n = 18).


The study was conducted using the grounded theory approach by Glaser. Purposive and theoretical sampling was used. Ten in-depth interviews and three additional focus group discussions were carried out. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis involved using the constant comparative method and open and theoretical coding. Sampling, data collection and data analysis happened simultaneously until theoretical saturation was achieved.


The grounded theory is constructed around six emergent themes: (a) desire as the ‘direct cause’; (b) the facilitators; (c) social changes; (d) media; (e) peer and (f) absence of family. The latter four themes are ‘indirect causes’ that influence through desire and the facilitators.


The study has contributed a grounded theory that identified the factors and described their relationships in a comprehensive way. It suggested a need for a reliable source of information to be tailor-designed to suit young people. Additionally, the stigma of talking about sex needs to be reduced to allow for more open discussions on sex and sexual health.

Keywords: Asia; sexual behavior; sexual health; Vietnam; young adults


  • [1]

    World Health Organization. Sexual health issues. Available at: http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/sexual_health/issues/en/. Accessed: August 1, 2017.

  • [2]

    Vietnam Ministry of Health. Survey assessment of Vietnamese youth (SAVY). Hanoi: Vietnam Ministry of Health; 2006.Google Scholar

  • [3]

    Vietnam Ministry of Health. Survey assessment of Vietnamese youth (SAVY) 2. Hanoi: Vietnam Ministry of Health; 2010.Google Scholar

  • [4]

    Bélanger D, Hong KT. Single women’s experiences of sexual relationships and abortion in Hanoi, Vietnam. Reprod Health Matters. 1999;7(14):71–82.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [5]

    Kaljee LM, Green M, Riel R, Lerdboon P, Tho LH, Thoa LTK. Sexual stigma, sexual behaviors, and abstinence among Vietnamese adolescents: implications for risk and protective behaviors for HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and unwanted pregnancy. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2007;18(2):48–59.CrossrefWeb of SciencePubMedGoogle Scholar

  • [6]

    Nguyen HN, Pranee L, Murphy G. Knowledge of contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptive practices amongst young people in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. Health Care Women Int. 2006;27(5):399.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [7]

    Hong KT. Adolescent reproductive health in Vietnam: Status, policies, programs, and issues. Hanoi, Vietnam: Center for Social Development Studies, Policy Project; 2003.Google Scholar

  • [8]

    Phuong TTH, Haub C. Adolescents and youth in Vietnam. Hanoi, Vietnam: Committee for Population, Family and Children of Vietnam; 2003.Google Scholar

  • [9]

    Vietnam Ministry of Health, Maternal and child health department. Abortion rate among women of reproductive age. Hanoi, Vietnam: Vietnam Ministry of Health, Maternal and child health department; 2017.Google Scholar

  • [10]

    Vietnam Association of Family Planning. Statistics of reproductive health and family planning in Vietnam Statistics. Hanoi, Vietnam: Vietnam Association of Family Planning; 2016.Google Scholar

  • [11]

    Keenan KF, van Teijlingen E. The quality of qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care. J Fam Plan Reprod Health Care. 2004;30(4):257–9.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [12]

    Gammeltoft T. Being special for somebody: urban sexualities in contemporary Vietnam. Asian J Soc Sci. 2002;30(3):476.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [13]

    Gammeltoft T. Seeking trust and transcendence: sexual risk-taking among Vietnamese youth. Soc Sci Med. 2002;55:483–96.PubMedCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [14]

    Phuong An N. Relationships based on love and relationship based on needs: emerging trends in youth sex culture in contemporary urban Vietnam. Mod Asian Stud. 2007;41(2):287.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [15]

    Ngo A, Ross M, Ratliff E. Internet influences on sexual practices among young people in Hanoi, Vietnam. Cult Health Sex. 2008;10(Suppl):S201–13.Web of SciencePubMedCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [16]

    Nguyen V, Vu M, Le C, Nguyen H. Risk and protective factors for sexual intercourse among adolescents. Vietnam J Public Health. 2010;15.Google Scholar

  • [17]

    Glaser BG, Strauss AL. The discovery of grounded theory : strategies for qualitative research: New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1967.Google Scholar

  • [18]

    World Health Organization. Young people’s health – a challenge for society. Geneva: WHO; 1986.Google Scholar

  • [19]

    Silverman D. Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook, 4th ed. London: SAGE; 2013.Google Scholar

  • [20]

    van Teijlingen E, Pitchforth E. Focus group research in family planning and reproductive health care. J Fam Plan Reprod Health Care. 2006;32(1):30–2.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [21]

    Ritchie J, Lewis J, McNaughton Nicholls C, Ormston R. Qualitative research practice: a guide for social science students and researchers: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE; 2013.Google Scholar

  • [22]

    Glaser BG. Theoretical sensitivity : advances in the methodology of grounded theory: Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press; c1978.Google Scholar

  • [23]

    Do M, Fu H. Attitudes toward premarital sex in contemporary Vietnam: findings from a national survey. Int J Sex Health. 2010;22(2):103–18.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [24]

    Gibbs SE, Le LC, Dao HB, Blum RW. Peer and community influences on the acceptance of premarital sex among Vietnamese adolescents. J Paediat Child Health. 2014;50(6):438–43.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [25]

    Tran TMH, Le CL. Association between exposure to porn movies and erotic websites and sexual perception and behaviour of unmarried youth in Gia Lam, Ha Noi. Vietnam J Public Health. 2009.Google Scholar

  • [26]

    Lou C, Cheng Y, Gao E, Zuo X, Emerson MR, Zabin LS. Media’s contribution to sexual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors for adolescents and young adults in three Asian cities. J Adolesc Health. 2012;50(3 Suppl):S26–36.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [27]

    Trinh T, Steckler A, Ngo A, Ratliff E. Parent communication about sexual issues with adolescents in Vietnam: content, contexts, and barriers. Sex Educ. 2009;9(4):371–80.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [28]

    Duong CT, Nguyen TH, Hoang TTH, Nguyen VV, Do TMN, Pham VH, et al. Sexual risk and bridging behaviors among young people in Hai Phong, Vietnam. AIDS Behav. 2008;12(4):643–51.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [29]

    Kaljee LM, Green MS, Min Z, Riel R, Lerdboon P, Lostutter TW, et al. Gender, alcohol consumption patterns, and engagement in sexually intimate behaviors among adolescents and young adults in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Youth Soc. 2011;43(1):118.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [30]

    Regmi PR, Simkhada P, van Teijlingen ER. “There are too many naked pictures found in papers and on the net”: Factors encouraging premarital sex among young people of Nepal. Health Sci J. 2010;4(3):169.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2018-09-04

Accepted: 2018-11-02

Published Online: 2019-04-17

Conflict of interest: We declare no conflicts of interest.

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20180201, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2018-0201.

Export Citation

©2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in