Self-esteem, peer influence and risky sexual behaviour among university students
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This study sought to examine the relationship among peer influence, self-esteem, and risky sexual behaviours among Uganda’s university students. Its objectives were to examine the relationship between self-esteem and peer influence, peer influence and risky sexual behaviour, and self-esteem and risky sexual behaviour. The fourth objective was to assess whether the relationship between peer influence and risky sexual behaviours depended upon self-esteem. The study was designed as a quantitative cross-sectional correlational survey involving 178 students randomly selected from Makerere and Kyambogo universities. Data were collected using a questionnaire and analysed using descriptive, Pearson correlation and linear regression methods. Results show that self-esteem related negatively and insignificantly with peer influence (r = -.101, N = 178, p = .181) and also with risky sexual behaviour (r = -.175, N = 178, p = .019); peer influence related positively but insignificantly with risky sexual behaviours (r = .127, N = 178, p = .091). The relationship between peer influence and risky sexual behaviours was not significantly dependent upon self-esteem. The study concluded that improving students’ self-esteem would play a role in reducing their involvement in risky sexual behaviour and susceptibility to negative peer influence. Thus, recommendations were made urging management of Uganda’s universities to encourage programmes that enhance students’ self-esteem in a way that minimises engaging in risky sexual behaviour and susceptibility to negative peer influence. Since neither self-esteem nor peer influence related strongly with risky sexual behaviour, more research was recommended into other factors that could strongly explain this behaviour.