n South African Journal of Education - Health complaints of high school students in the Northern Province and taboo themes in their families

Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



The article reports on a study of the health complaints of high school students in the Northern Province of South Africa, taboo themes in their families, and the relationship between the two. Five hundred and twenty-nine (529) high school students filled in a self-rating questionnaire designed to identify their health complaints and taboo themes in their families. Results show that the highest reported health complaint was the difficulty to swallow, followed by nausea and by pressure/unpleasant feeling of fullness in the stomach. The highest reported taboo theme was homosexuality, followed by tattooing or piercing, and abortion. There is a significant positive correlation between health complaints of the students and taboo themes in their families. The findings call for intensified efforts on enlightenment (life skills) programmes designed to encourage open discussions among family members. This would reduce the health problems associated with taboos and also reduce the work of school teachers involved with health and social education.

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