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Abstract Background There is growing contact with the outside world among adolescents and young adults in the three Asian cities of Hanoi, Shanghai and Taipei due to the open policies implemented by the national governments of each of these cities.
Because these policies were enacted at different points in time, their concomitant social impact has not been simultaneous, with the result that these societies are at different stages of change. Method This is a cross-sectional study. The multi-center survey of 17, male and female adolescents and young adults aged 15—24 years old from three cities with Confucian-influenced cultures — Shanghai, Hanoi and Taipei — was conducted from May to January through face-to-face interviews coupled with computer-assisted self-interviews for sensitive questions; 16, unmarried respondents were included in this analysis.
All the analyses were done through SAS 9. More respondents in Taipei and Shanghai had external contact and identified with non-traditional values than those in Hanoi.
The percentages of respondents reporting non-Confucian values were the highest in Taipei, the lowest in Hanoi and between these two in Shanghai. External contact, Unmarried adolescents and young adults, Confucian values, Asian city, Multi-center study Introduction Today, adolescents and young adults are living in a world of cultural globalization and value pluralism. For example, although Chinese Confucianism emphasizes asceticism, with a strict code regarding premarital sexual behavior[ 1 ], available data show that in the past decades higher levels of premarital sexual activity and lower age of sexual debut are observed among adolescents and young adults living in the countries whose cultures are Confucian-based, such as China mainland, Taiwan and Vietnam [ 2 — 8 ].
While the acceleration of pubertal development and delayed marriage are considered to be the main reasons underlying these social changes, they are generated by processes within these populations; the absorption and adoption of western sexual culture is also widely regarded as an important external contextual factor [ 9 ].
Hanoi, Shanghai and Taipei, three cities influenced by Confucian culture for thousands of years, have opened to the western world with different timing. No large-scale cross-regional epidemiological research on the issue has been reported thus far. A basic principle of Collectivism ethos is conformity. Compared with the aforementioned conformity, individual freedom and aspirations for the future are taken for granted in western values. Therefore, the first and most salient issue in terms of these two contradictory belief systems is to ascertain the extent to which adolescents and young adults who have been raised with the principle of Confucian collectivism identify with western individualism.
Women are always placed in a passive position in a male-controlled world. While it is acceptable for a man to pursue a woman in a romantic relationship, it is considered shameful for a woman to pursue a man. A young girl is expected to be discreet in word and deed and is not allowed to take the initiative in expressing her affection to a man. In contrast, in western culture, sex is regarded as a fundamental human need to be fulfilled for pleasure[ 1 ]. Exposure to such radically contradictory values may lead to young individuals holding attitudes to sexual behavior that are markedly different from those with which their parents raised them.
Increasing contact with the western world has resulted in increased permissiveness towards premarital sexual behavior in formerly traditional societies. Therefore, the third issue of concern in this paper is to examine the attitudes and behaviors of adolescents and young adults in these three East Asian cities with regard to premarital sex. Among them, western language, western videos and western pop and movie idols are the common interfaces between adolescents and young adults in the three Asian cities and their contact with western culture.
In these three cities, western language learning, especially English learning, has been a popular career asset sought by adolescents and young adults, and not only provides them a gateway to access western culture, but also inspires their interest in such culture.
Western videos are the most welcome product of western culture compared with books, magazines, music and games, and are readily available on the Internet [ 19 ].
Data have shown that due to the popularity of western videos, many adolescents and young adults have subsequently become interested in western culture and have identified with the values emerging in these videos. Idolization of western singers and actors is prevalent among adolescents and young adults from China mainland, Taiwan and Vietnam [ 19 ].
In this paper, the 16, unmarried respondents were included in the analysis. Multi-stage sampling methods were used to insure representativeness within each city. In Taipei students were interviewed in school with a small non-student sub-sample interviewed at their private residences and GLFs.
The survey was developed by the research team, translated, back-translated, and pilot tested in each site. Interviewers received extensive training. Most of the interview was conducted face-to-face, except that computer-assisted self interview CASI was used for sensitive questions. All aspects of this study received approval from the Committee on Human Research Office at the Johns Hopkins University as well as the collaborating local organizations.
Measures Independent variables In this paper, three variables are used to measure the degree of contact and identification with western culture.
Knew how to speak western language The variable is derived from a multi-choice question on what languages the respondent is able to speak. Responses of knowing English, French and other western languages are defined as knowing how to speak western languages and scored one, while the other responses are scored zero.
Items with similar percentages of agreement are combined into one group. A PSP score of 0—7 is then assigned according to the following sequence: The items for male and female respondents are similar except that the sex referent is female for the female scale and male for the male scale. All coefficients of reproducibility for the Guttman scaling in three cities are over 0. Statistical analysis The sample was weighted before the analysis and the weights were calculated according to the probability of each respondent being selected from the sample site.
All analyses were conducted within cities i. Cases with missing values were excluded from the analysis. All analyses were performed using SAS 9. The percentages by gender and age group were higher in Shanghai More than half of Taipei respondents