Adolescents’ Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Arab World

  • Mamdouh WahbaEmail author
Living reference work entry


Today’s generation of young Arab people is approaching adulthood in a world vastly different from previous generations; AIDS, globalization, urbanization, electronic communication, migration, and economic challenges have radically transformed the landscape. Transition to productive and healthy adults is further shaped by societal context, including gender and socialization process. In our region, young persons have been exposed and continue to be exposed to structural state-based violence as well as conflict and war that affect every aspect of their lives. Almost every country of the region has been affected by war or conflict over the last few years. This exacerbates the uncertainties of an already turbulent life stage for young people (Roudi-Fahimi and El Feki 2011).

Due to rapid globalization, Arab adolescents are navigating two completely different ways of life at the same time: the conservative way of life and the more liberal trends they encounter in the media and other countries. They are torn between the norms and values taught at homes and worship places on one hand and the youth cultures they observe around them on the other hand. They are also caught between biology and traditions. The situation of Arab adolescents immigrating to or living in other countries is even more confusing; they frequently encounter negative media portrayal of their culture and religion, discrimination from peers and society at large, and exposure to conflicting conservative and Euro-American norms about acceptable adolescent behavior. These conditions collectively provide negative experiences for youth and likely manifest as hassles in their daily lives.

Adolescents’ welfare and development is always discussed from the perspective of the cultural contexts and social norms of the more liberal and much smaller number of the adolescents from the developed countries. However, our adolescents are different and occasionally more vulnerable. It is imperative that Arab adolescents deserve addressing their distinct hardship and well-being needs in a concerted and holistic approach.

Sexual and reproductive health issue is a major concern that needs to be fully explored in order to sustain efforts to enhance adolescents’ development, health, and welfare. It is a domain that is highly sensitive to cultural norms and has a tremendous impact on current and future safety and well-being.


Adolescents’ health Arab youth Sexual and reproductive health Sexuality in Arab countries SRH challenges Virginity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arab Coalition for Adolescent MedicineThe Egyptian Society for Adolescent MedicineCairoEgypt

Section editors and affiliations

  • Yusuf S. Khader
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community Medicine, Public Health and Family MedicineJordan University of Science & TechnologyIrbidJordan

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