Masculinity and Risk Behavior among Youth in Thailand

Anju Malhotra, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Eva Roca, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Amara Soonthorndhada, Mahidol University
Sirinan Kittisuksathit, Mahidol University
Sarah Martin, Princeton University

This paper examines the relationship between masculinity and sexual and other risk behaviors among Thai male youth. We argue that recent processes of modernization have crystallized adolescence as a life course stage for young men in which opportunities for experimentation, adventure, and thrill should be maximized. These processes have served to sharpen the association between male adolescence and risk behavior because of the normative acceptability of risk taking, and because of the increasing range of options and opportunities for undertaking risk behaviors that include sexual activity, drugs, drinking, motorcycle riding, and gang activity. Our research also shows that a better understanding of the association between masculinity and risk behaviors is a critical step for developing programmatic interventions aimed at better life outcomes for young people. Two promising intervention entry points are 1) positive deviance through peer networks, and 2) emphasis on long term schooling and career goals in the schools.

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Presented in Session 154: Sexual Behavior in Developing Countries