Sexual and reproductive health

How do perceptions of gender roles shape the sexual behaviour of Croatian adolescents?

Social science research policy brief

UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP)

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Publication details

Number of pages: 2
Publication date: 2004
Languages: English



Croatian parents are reluctant to discuss sexual matters with their adolescent children. The lack of school-based sex education programmes in Croatia further contributes to adolescents’ poor understanding of sexuality. As a result, many Croatian adolescents have misperceptions about sexuality; this can expose them to risky sexual behaviour.

Adolescents in Croatia generally have inadequate communication skills to negotiate safe sex. They also have insufficient knowledge of ways to protect themselves from risky behaviour and the consequences of unsafe sex.

In 2001–2002, a study was carried out at four sites in Croatia to explore adolescents’ perceptions and attitudes toward gender roles, ways in which gender norms and beliefs shape their sexual experiences and expectations, perceptions of risk and responsibility in sexual encounters and relationships, and use of contraceptives (especially condoms) during sexual encounters.