Gender relations and sexual communication among female students in the Mekong River Delta of Vietnam

Thanh Cong Bui, Pamela M. Diamond, Christine Markham, Michael W. Ross, Thanh An Nguyen-Le, Ly Hai Thi Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Young women's ability to pursue a safer-sex life in line with their wishes is crucial to their sexual health. Although some previous observations have suggested that young women's lack of ability to negotiate safer sex is due to gender power imbalances in the culture of Vietnam, studies that have tested this hypothesis explicitly and quantitatively are few and far between. The present study aimed to test the association between perceived gender relations and perceived self-efficacy in communicating sexual matters among undergraduate female students in the Mekong River Delta of Vietnam. The analysis involved secondary data from 260 subjects from a larger survey regarding gender equity. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the study's hypothesis. Results showed that adherence to traditional gender roles and norms was significantly associated with female students' reduced self-efficacy to communicate on safer-sex matters, such as refusing unwanted sex or requesting condom use. This association remained invariant in the cross-validation process between partnered and unpartnered groups. Programmes that aim to promote safer-sex negotiation and practices for this population may need to address the influence of gender relations and power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-601
Number of pages11
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Can Tho University in data collection. The first and the fifth authors completed this work as fellows of the Vietnam Education Foundation. The first author is also funded by the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, USA (AITRP D43 TW007669).


  • Gender relations
  • Self-efficacy
  • Sexuality
  • Vietnam
  • Young women


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