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Hearing the unheard voice‐puberty experiences of young Pakistani men: A qualitative study

Shivji, Noureen A.; Lymn, Joanne S.; Meade, Oonagh; Watts, Kim


Noureen A. Shivji

Joanne S. Lymn

Oonagh Meade

Kim Watts



Introduction: Puberty experiences of male adolescents can have significant impacts on physical and psychological health outcomes. This qualitative study explored the puberty experiences of young males in Pakistan, as there are limited accounts of what shapes these puberty experiences, especially for adolescent males living in a restrictive culture. Methods: Twenty-two young Pakistani men (aged 18–21 years) from two urban sites in Karachi participated in individual face-to-face (n=19) and Skype (n=3) interviews. Qualitative thematic analysis was conducted using an inductive approach to identity and examine the patterns emerging from the data. Results: Participants described puberty as a challenging phase for which they were unprepared with a combination of various socio-cultural factors exposing them to negative impacts. As a result, young men expressed feelings of anxiety, embarrassment and isolation. Societal and gender norms around masculinity, sexuality and the roles and responsibilities of young men had a significant impact on how participants experienced puberty. While negative reactions towards puberty were dominant, participants described adopting coping strategies (e.g. social support) to help them deal with negative experiences. Conclusions: Findings highlight the significance of culturally appropriate puberty education and various facilitating factors that may improve the puberty experiences for future young men. While extending current literature, this study also identifies key factors that could inform the development of health promotion programmes, which may aid adolescent males’ puberty transition and positively influence their long-term health, well-being and identity.


Shivji, N. A., Lymn, J. S., Meade, O., & Watts, K. (2021). Hearing the unheard voice‐puberty experiences of young Pakistani men: A qualitative study. Journal of Adolescence, 88(1), 36-47.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2021
Online Publication Date Feb 18, 2021
Publication Date 2021-04
Deposit Date Jan 21, 2023
Journal Journal of Adolescence
Print ISSN 0140-1971
Electronic ISSN 1095-9254
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 88
Issue 1
Pages 36-47
Keywords Psychiatry and Mental health; Developmental and Educational Psychology; Social Psychology; Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health
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