Assessing Sexual Knowledge and Sexual Attitudes of Nursing Students: Implications for Primary Health Care

  • Kam Weng Boey
  • Hoi Nga Ng
Keywords: Nursing students, primary care setting, sexual health, sexual attitudes, sexual knowledge


Background: Health professionals in primary care settings were considered most appropriate for providing sexual health care.  However, nurses’ perceived inadequate knowledge and negative attitudes towards sexuality were reported to be two major barriers to sexual health care.  Objectives: This study ascertained if inadequate sexual knowledge and negative sexual attitudes were valid reflection of the situations of nursing students in Hong Kong, and hence if relevant trainings were indicated for preparing students to provide quality primary sexual health care.Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 258 first year nursing students were recruited to participate via convenience sampling.  A questionnaire which contained items on sociodemographic characteristics and validated measures of sexual knowledge and sexual attitudes was designed for data collection.  Results: Nursing students’ sexual knowledge was considered rather mediocre.  Out of a total of 19 items, the number of items answered correctly was on average 10.4 ± 3.5.  Their attitudes towards human sexuality were generally neutral.  Sexual knowledge was positively related to sexual attitudes (r = 0.47, p < .01).  Students older in age (20 years old or above) were more liberal in sexual attitudes than students aged 19 or below.  Students reported no religious affiliation were also more liberal in their attitudes towards human sexuality.Conclusion: Knowledge and positive attitudes regarding human sexuality needed to be promoted among nursing students.  Data from this study provided useful information to facilitate sex education in preparing nursing students to render quality sexual health care in primary care settings.                                                                                                               Keywords: Nursing students; primary care setting; sexual health; sexual attitudes; sexual knowledge



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