Sex and BC East Asian teenagers

A new study by University of British Columbia researchers shows that although 90 per cent of East Asian adolescents in British Columbia are not sexually active, those who are may engage in high-risk sexual behaviours.

“Most East Asian-Canadian adolescents have not had sex, but among those who have, one in four used alcohol or drugs before sex last time, and one-third have had two or more partners,” says Yuko Homma, lead author and a post-doctoral research fellow with UBC School of Nursing. “Nearly half the girls had not used a condom.”

“Since about half of these students were new Canadians and spoke a language other than English at home, we wonder if they might be missing key information in sexual health classes because of language barriers,” says Elizabeth Saewyc, senior author and Professor with UBC School of Nursing.

This study is also the first population-based survey in Canada that asked East Asian adolescents their reasons for abstaining from sex: the top two reasons for waiting were not feeling ready and wanting to meet the right person.

Published recently in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, the study used data from the British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey to examine the prevalence of sexual behaviour among both Canadian-born and immigrant East Asian adolescents in B.C. The study looked at contraceptive use, health outcomes as a result of sexual activity, and differences in behaviour among male and female adolescents.


The study, Sexual health and risk behavior among East Asian adolescents in British Columbia, is available on request. Yuko Homma and Elizabeth Saewyc are available for interviews by contacting Tracy Tang at 604-827-3367 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Sex and BC East Asian teenagers Quote from Nancy Edwards, Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Population and Public Health (study funder):

“Through the use of large-scale school surveys, this study shines an important light on previously unknown sexual health behaviours of East Asian adolescents. The results argue for the need to tailor programs that take into account where adolescents live.”


Tracy Tang
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University of British Columbia

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