Past Projects

Title:   Sexual health policy analysis in selected European Countries

Research Consultant
Alison Hosie

March 2001 – August 2001

The Health Education Board for Scotland commissioned a piece of policy analysis to inform the development of strategic work in the area of sexual health in Scotland.

Research aims
The aim of this research is to add to the Evidence into Action series which explores issues relating to teenage sexual health in Scotland, by:

  • Critically analysing and contrasting a selection of European policy approaches to the promotion of young people's sexual health in comparison to Scotland.

  • Increasing knowledge about 'good practice' in sexual health promotion for young people in general.

Research objectives
The specific objectives of this research are to:

  • Map out the key policy areas which impact directly, or indirectly on the promotion of sexual health

  • Gather relevant policy statements and information from up to 4 other European countries (see below for details)

  • Synthesise the key points of recent policy developments in the areas most relevant to young people and sexual health (see below) by country

  • As far as possible set the policy developments within the social context of the country in question, e.g. attitudes to sex and teenage sexual activity, contraception and service provision etc

  • Provide some indication as to the success or otherwise of the impact of policy in improving sexual health of young people, in particular teenage pregnancy rates and incidence of STIs, abortion ratios and contraception use at first and last intercourse.

Research methods
This report builds in part on doctoral research, which comparatively explored policy relating to teenage pregnancy in Finland and Scotland (Hosie 2001). Utilising a qualitative structural framework for comparative policy analysis, this report combines both primary and secondary data.

Overall, the research has been largely desk based, making use of personal contacts and relevant web and library search engines. Use of the various search engines enabled the collection of a wide range of secondary data including:

  • Published and unpublished articles
  • Sexual health statistics
  • Relevant policy documentation

The data was collected and analysed over a period of eight weeks. Clarification of the policy analysis drawn from this information was then obtained, where possible, though relevant personal contacts. Additionally, this report made use of the primary data derived from interviews conducted with government officials, local authority/ municipality officials, teachers and school nurses in Finland and Scotland (Hosie 2001), which was re-analysed for the purpose of this report.

The main report comprises the sections outlined below:

Section One: Introduction, research aims & objectives, and methods.

Section Two: The background to the research will be outlined covering policy and the development of evidence-based policy decisions.

Section Three: Following the introduction of the aims and objectives of this research, section one outlines the methods by which this research was undertaken as well as exploring the rationale behind the choice of countries and indictors utilised within this report. The section concludes by introducing the wider policy perspective being explored within this report.

Section Four: Map out the key policy areas under exploration in this report. In doing so a short review of relevant literature is explored in order to provide rationale as to the decisions behind the inclusion of each policy area within this report.

Sections Five to Nine: Locate and explore the policy areas within the five countries under focus, namely: Finland, France, the Netherlands, Romania and Scotland, paying particular attention to the social context within which the various policies have been developed. Each country section begins with a profile of indicators relating to teenage sexual health.

Section Ten: Present a comparative discussion of the five countries, highlighting indictors of success or otherwise of the impact of policy aimed at improving the sexual health of young people.

Section Eleven: Presents the final section of this report, which discusses the main conclusions to this report within the context of implications for the development of an informed strategy for the promotion of young people's sexual health in Scotland.

The report can be accessed by following this link.

Publications based on this research can be found on the Publications page.

Papers already presented on this research can be found on the Conferences & Seminar Presentations and Esteem Indicators pages.

For further details about the project please contact:

Dr Alison Hosie
Tel: 07931 164111

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