Evaluation of reproductive health and sexual behaviors of university students: Case study from Istanbul

Rathfisch G., Aydin M., Pehlivan M. D., Bozkurt B. S., Kaplica I.

CONTEMPORARY NURSE, vol.43, no.1, pp.47-55, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.5172/conu.2012.43.1.47
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.47-55
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Young people are affected to a higher extent by early and unprotected sexual relations in Turkey. They do not have healthy sexual attitudes, are ignorant about reproductive health and engage in risky practices and behavior. It is therefore necessary to provide effective and confidential reproductive health services to young people. Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the reproductive health behaviors of male and female university students. Methods: This descriptive study was conducted between January and May 2008. The study population was composed of university students from Istanbul University, Florence Nightingale Nursing High School, Faculty of Forestry and Department of Science Teachers' Training, as well as students residing at the Students Dormitory of the Regional Directory of Forestry. Questionnaires were distributed in envelopes during the breaks in the university buildings, cafeterias and in the dormitories. Completed questionnaires were also collected under cover in envelopes. The data were collected by four students from the nursing school. Results: A total of 647 students were enrolled. Among the participants, 75% (N = 490) were female students and 24.3% (N = 157) were male students. The mean age was 21.38 (SD = 1.92). The rate of sexually active participants was 26% (N = 169) and the rate of participants who masturbated was 36% (N = 233). The rate of using a family planning method was determined as 25% (N = 163) and the most frequently used family planning method was use of condoms (67.4%). The rate of pregnancy was determined as 1.5% and the rate of abortion was 1.4%. In 69% of the students, the main source of knowledge on sexuality was the internet. The rate of students stating that sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted by sexual intercourse and via blood was 72.6%, and the percentage of students who were vaccinated against Hepatitis B was 61.8%. Conclusion: Twenty-six percent of the students are sexually active and students are unable to reach information on reproduction and sexual health through reliable sources. These results indicate the need for organization of health education programs for university students with regard to reproductive and sexual health.