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Iranian adolescent girls’ barriers in accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services: a qualitative study
  1. Mohammed Shariati1,
  2. Raheleh Babazadeh2,
  3. Seyed Abbas Mousavi3,
  4. Khadijeh Mirzaii Najmabadi4
  1. 1Assistant Professor of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medicine Sciences, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
  2. 2PhD Candidate, Reproductive Health, Shahroud University of Medical Sciences, Shahroud, Islamic Republic of Iran
  3. 3Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Research Centre of Psychiatry, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Gorgan, Golestan, Islamic Republic of Iran
  4. 4Assistant Professor of Reproductive Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Islamic Republic of Iran
  1. Correspondence to Ms Raheleh Babazadeh, Department of Reproductive Health, Shahroud University of Medical Sciences, Shahroud, Islamic Republic of Iran; raheleh621{at}


Introduction Adolescence is a critical period of transition from childhood to adulthood. In today's world, to pass through this period successfully it is necessary to have adequate information and knowledge about sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues. In Iran, it is crucial that special attention be paid to reproductive health services for adolescents, especially for girls.

Purpose This study aimed to explore the views and experiences of adolescent girls and key adults around the barriers to access of Iranian adolescent girls to SRH information and services.

Methods In this qualitative study, data were gathered through focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 247 adolescent girls and 71 key adults including mothers, teachers, health providers, governmental, nongovernmental and international managers of health programmes, health policymakers, sociologists and clergy in four Iranian cities. Data were coded and categorised using content analysis by MAXQDA10.

Results The main barriers identified were classified in four categories: (1) social and cultural barriers such as taboos; (2) structural and administrative barriers such as inappropriate structure of the health system; (3) political barriers such as lack of an adopted strategy by the government and (4) non-use of religious potential.

Conclusions Adolescent SRH in Iran should be firmly established as a priority for government leaders and policymakers. They should try to provide those services that are consistent with the community's cultural and religious values for adolescent girls.

  • qualitative research
  • adolescent girls
  • sexual and reproductive health
  • barriers
  • Iran

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