Gender and Behaviour

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Health behaviour, decision making and perceived parenting: are male and female learners significantly different?

Eugene Lee Davids, Nicolette Vanessa Roman, Lloyd Leach


The study aimed to establish the perceived parenting styles, decision making styles and engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviours of male and female learners in secondary schools in the Western Cape, South Africa. A cross-sectional comparative design was implemented. The sample consisted of 457 Grade 9 learners from the Overberg Educational District. The mean age for the sample was 16 years (SD= 1.45), made up of more female (53.8%) than male (46.2%) participants. Both descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used. When testing for differences between male and female learners using MANOVA, no significant main effects were found. The findings, therefore, suggest that authoritative parenting, vigilant decision making and frequent engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviours were the most prevalent behaviours amongst male and female learners.

Keywords: Adolescence, decision making, gender, healthy lifestyle behaviours, learners, parenting

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