University of Hertfordshire

Being an 'adolescent': The consequences of gendered risks for young people in rural Uganda

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-33
Number of pages15
JournalChildhood (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Early online date25 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


The behaviour of adolescents is recognised increasingly as having substantial and long-term consequences for their health. We examined the meaning of 'adolescence' in southern Uganda with HIV-positive young people aged 11-24 years. Adolescent girls and boys are described differently in the local language (Luganda). Adolescence is described as a behavioural rather than a life course category and an inherently dangerous one. The practices, risks and consequences of 'adolescent' behaviour are highly gendered. Local understandings of adolescence are likely to have a significant impact on the efficacy of interventions designed to minimise their 'risky behaviour'.


© 2017 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (

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