Assessment of psychosocial factors influencing sexual orientation among students in tertiary institutions in Thika Sub-County, Kiambu County, Kenya
Muturi, Catherine, Wanjiku
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Over the last decades, views on sexual orientation have gradually but substantially changed globally, especially in the Western societies. In Africa, individuals whose sexual orientation is homosexual are a minority group that differs from heterosexual individuals, who are the majority, with respect to sexuality. There is an increase in population of young people in Thika Sub-County, Kiambu County due to an increase in number of tertiary institutions. The aim of the study was to check whether varied psychosocial dynamics influence sexual orientation of students. The purpose of the study was to assess psychosocial factors influencing sexual orientation among students in tertiary institutions in Thika Sub-County, Kiambu County. The study objectives sought to determine whether peer influence, family background, multicultural dynamics, and drug abuse influence sexual orientation among students in tertiary institutions. The study was guided by the Sexual Orientation theory, Durkheim’s Social Integration theory, and the Labelling theory. This research study adopted a correlational study design. The researcher targeted 13,100 students from public and private tertiary institutions in Thika sub-county in the following tertiary institutions: Jodan College of Technology, Thika Institute of Business Studies, Thika School of Medical and Health Sciences and the Thika Technical Training Institute. Through the use of Cochran sample size formula, 374 students were selected. The researcher collected data from 301 students. Data collection was collected through the students’ questionnaire and KII interview guide for counselors. A pilot test of 37 students was carried out to examine the reliability and validity of the research instruments. The questionnaire reliability was estimated by computing Cronbach alpha coefficient while validity of data collection instruments was ascertained through the university supervisors’ scrutiny. The study collected both quantitative and qualitative data. Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics were used to analyze primary data. The four formulated hypotheses of the study were tested by use of Chi-square tests. Quantitative data analysis was conducted using the Statistical Package for Social Science Program (SPSS) version 25. The tests were conducted at α = 0.05 level of significance. From the results, there was a statistically significant relationship between peer influence and sexual orientation (χ = 34.523, p = 0.05), there was a statistically significant relationship between peer influence and sexual orientation (χ = 72.098, p < 0.00), there was a statistically significant relationship between multicultural dynamics and sexual orientation (χ = 37.712, p = 0.02 < 0.05), and there was a statistically significant relationship between drug abuse and sexual orientation (χ = 58.009, p < 0.00). Therefore, peer influence, family background, multicultural dynamics and drug abuse had statistically significant influences on sexual orientation among students in tertiary institutions. The study recommended strengthening of counseling departments so as to reach out to many students. Parents and adult family members should provide favorable environments for children to grow with love, care, attention and protection. For further studies, it would be important to use segmentation analysis as well as a different research approach in assessing factors influencing sexual orientation among students in tertiary institutions.
Africa Nazarene University