Menstrual health communication among Indian adolescents: A mixed-methods study

Autoři: Mukta Gundi aff001;  Malavika A. Subramanyam aff001
Působiště autorů: Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article



Research in health communication frequently views it as an information dissemination strategy, thus neglecting the intricacies involved in communicating a sensitive topic such as menstruation. The social patterning in menstrual communication, a taboo in India, and its consequent health-effects on adolescents are under-studied.


We studied the social determinants of menstrual communication influencing menstrual- health through semi-structured interviews of 21 boys and girls each, 12 key-respondent interviews, followed by a cross-sectional survey of 1421 adolescents from Nashik district, India. We thematically analysed the qualitative data and fit multivariable logistic regression to model risk ratios.


We found social disparities in adolescents’ experiences of communication taboo regarding menstruation. While boys curbed their curiosity about the topic, girls too faced resistance to their experience-sharing and treatment-seeking for menstrual illnesses. The inequality in menstruation-related communication was evident as more boys than girls faced avoidance to their questions [IRR at 95%CI: 2.75 (2.04, 3.71)]], and fewer tribal than rural girls were communicated severe taboos (OR at 95% CI: 0.18 (0.09, 0.36))]. Girls who had been communicated severe (versus no/mild) taboos reported greater stress about menstrual staining (IRR at 95% CI: 1.31 (1.10, 1.57)], emphasizing the health consequences of such communication inequalities.


Our study highlights the need to address gender and setting-specific communication experiences of adolescents in India, a patriarchal society. The inequality in communication needs attention as it creates unequal patterns in Indian adolescents’ menstrual health and experiences, which may manifest as inequities in reproductive health-related outcomes even in their adult-lives.

Klíčová slova:

Adolescents – Behavioral and social aspects of health – Communication in health care – Communications – Schools – Social communication – Socioeconomic aspects of health – Teachers


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2019 Číslo 10
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