The perspective of peer educators: What are their experiences, feelings, and thoughts?


Introduction: Although peer education is accepted as one of the most effective methods for sexual and reproductive health education, the feelings, thoughts and self-affection of peer educators are not very well known. Our aim is to investigate what it is like to be a peer educator. Methods: This phenomenological study was conducted in Izmir as a part of “Modern Stork Legends” project supported by the European Union. Two focus group interviews were made with 18 peer educators of the project. Data were analyzed with NVivo 8 BS software. Results: All of the students stated that they participate in the project “to enhance their knowledge” and “to inform their social circle”. They are concerned about the tasks and expectations, and anxious about the subject of counseling. They think that anything related with sexuality is taboo in Turkey and it was also the same for them. They observed that, gender defined roles are reflected on students’ behaviors and attitudes. Their tolerance in understanding of inhibitions and hesitations of their peers formed the basis of their success. They stated that working in this project helped them to overcome their prejudices and contributed their development in many ways. Conclusion: Peer educators internalize substantial amount of knowledge and gain self-confidence and important skills such as communication, problem solving and access to information.

Share and Cite:

Güldal, D. , Mevsim, V. , Günvar, T. and Özçakar, N. (2012) The perspective of peer educators: What are their experiences, feelings, and thoughts?. Health, 4, 349-356. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.47057.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Educational Document. _peers_01.pdf
[2] Falchikov, N. (2001) Learning together: Peer tutoring in higher education. Routledge-Falmer, Tyler & Francis Group UK, London.
[3] Lazdane, G. and Lazarus, J.V. (2003) Does peer education work in Europe? The European Magazine for Sexual and Reproductive Health, 56.
[4] Stephenson, J.M., Strange, V., Forrest, S., Oakley, A., Copas, A., Allen, E., et al. (2004) Pupil-led sex education in England (RIPPLE study): Cluster-randomized intervention trial. Lancet, 364, 338-346. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(04)16722-6
[5] Chambers, R. Boath, E. and Chambers, S. (2002) Young people’s and professionals’ views about ways to reduce teenage pregnancy rates: To agree or not agree. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, 28, 85-90. doi:10.1783/147118902101196009
[6] Kocken, P., Voorham, T., Brandsma, J. and Swart, W. (2001) Effects of peer-led AIDS education aimed at Turkish and Moroccan male immigrants in The Nether-lands: A randomized controlled evaluation study. European Journal of Public Health, 11, 153-159. doi:10.1093/eurpub/11.2.153
[7] Ozcebe, H., Akin, L. and Aslan, D. (2004) A peer education example on HIV/AIDS at a high school in Ankara. The Turkish Journal of Pediatrics, 45, 54-59.
[8] WHO Millennium Development Goals, 5.4.
[9] Bennett, S.E. and Assefi, N.P. (2005) School-based teenage pregnancy prevention programs: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36, 72-81. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2003.11.097
[10] de Bruyn, M. and Packer, S. (2004) Adolescents, unwanted pregnancy and abortion. Policies, counseling and clinical care. Ipas, Chapel Hill.
[11] Eaton, D.K., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J., et al. (2010) Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 59, 1-142.
[12] Aras, S., Orcin, E., Ozan, S. and Semin, S. (2007) Sexual behaviors and contraception among university students in Turkey. Journal of Biosocial Science, 39, 121-135. doi:10.1017/S0021932006001258
[13] Maral, I., Durukan, E., Albyrak, S., Oztimur, N., Biri, A. and Bumin, M.A. (2007) Induced abortion frequency in Ankara, Turkey, before and after the legal regulation of induced abortion. The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, 12, 279-288. doi:10.1080/13625180701441196
[14] Ay P, Karabey S. (2006) Is there a “hidden HIV/AIDS epidemic” in Turkey?: The gap between the numbers and the facts. Marmara Medical Journal, 19, 90-97.
[15] ülker, K., Temur, I. and Gül, A. (2012) Effects of mod- ernization and new population policies on reproductive health in Kars, Turkey. The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, 17, 187-196. doi:10.3109/13625187.2012.665102
[16] Yazici, S., Dolgun, G., Ozturk,, Y. and Yilmaz, F. (2011) The level of knowledge and behavior of adolescent male and female students in Turkey on the Matter of Reproductive Health. Sexuality and Disability, 29, 217-227. doi:10.1007/s11195-011-9204-x
[17] Yanikkerem, E., Piyan, G., Kavlak, T. and Karadeniz, G. (2010) Assessing the role of education on turkish university students’ knowledge about HPV and related diseases. The Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 11, 1703-1711.
[18] Turhan, E., Inandi, Y. and Inandi, T. (2006) Risk perception, knowledge and social distance of Turkish high school students about HIV/AIDS. Journal of Public Health, 28, 137-138. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdi085
[19] Kirby, D., Obasi, A. and Laris, B.A. (2006) The effectiveness of sex education and HIV education interventions in schools in developing countries. In: Ross, D.A., Dick, B., Ferguson, J. Eds., Preventing HIV/AIDS in young people: A systematic review of the evidence from developing countries, WHO Press, Geneva, 103-150.
[20] DiCenso, A., Guyatt, G., Willan, A. and Griffith, I. (2002) Interventions to reduce unintended pregnancies among adolescents; Systematic review of randomized controlled trials. British Medical Journal, 324, 1426-1430. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7351.1426
[21] Yeniceri, N., Ozcakar, N., Mevsim, V. and Güldal, D. (2003) A new method in clinical skills practice: Peer tutoring (in Turkish). Tip E?itimi Dünyasi Dergisi, 12, 6-11.
[22] Ilene, S., Speizer, I.S. and Tambashe, B.O. (2001) An evaluation of the “Entre Nous Jeunes” peer-educator program for adolescents in Cameroon. Studies in Family Planning, 32, 339-351. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4465.2001.00339.x
[23] Mellanby, A.R. Newcombe, R.G. Rees, J. and Tripp, J.H. (2001) A comparative study of peer-led and adult-led school sex education. Health Education Research, 16, 481-492. doi:10.1093/her/16.4.481
[24] Mevsim, V., Guldal, D., Gunvar, T., Saygin, O. and Kuruoglu, E. (2009) Young people benefit from comprehensive education on reproductive health. European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, 14, 144- 152. doi:10.1080/13625180802451201
[25] Mevsim, V., Guldal, D., Ozcakar, N. and Saygin, O. (2008) What was retained? The assessment of the training for the peer trainers’ course on short and long term basis. BMC Public Health, 8, 24. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-24
[26] Blank, L., Baxter, S.K., Payne, N., Guillaume, L.R. and Pilgrim, H. (2010) Systematic review and narrative synthesis of the effectiveness of contraceptive service interventions for young people, delivered in educational settings. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, 23, 341- 351. doi:10.1016/j.jpag.2010.03.007
[27] Wight, D., Raab, G.M., Henderson, M., Abraham, C., Buston, K., Hart, G., et al. (2002) Limits of teacher delivered sex education: Interim behavioral outcomes from randomized trial. British Medical Journal, 324, 1430-1436 doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7351.1430
[28] Strange, V., Forrest, S. and Oakley, A. (2002) What influences peer-led sex education in the classroom? A view from the peer educators. Health Education Research, 17, 339-349. doi:10.1093/her/17.3.339
[29] Strange, V., Forrest, S. and Oakley, A. (2002) What influences peer-led sex education in the classroom? A view from the peer educators. Health Education Research, 17, 327-337. doi:10.1093/her/17.3.327
[30] Backett-Milburn, K. and Wilson, S. (2000) Understanding peer education: Insights from a process evaluation. Health Education Research, 15, 85-96. doi:10.1093/her/15.1.85

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.