The study was based on data collected through an anonymous questionnaire completed by 156 preadolescent students (48% girls, 52% boys, mean age = 13) during a sexual and affective education intervention carried out in the school context by health professionals. The study had the following aims: 1) describing the adolescents’ sources of information about sexuality and affectivity investigating gender differences; 2) describing boys’ and girls’ questions about sexuality and affectivity. Frequencies were reported and Chi-square test was used to investigate gender differences. Questions were subjected to content analysis and frequencies were reported for each category. Friends and parents are the main sources of information, followed by books and internet: girls are more likely than boys to talk about emotions with friends and about pubertal development with parents, while boys use internet more than girls. The majority of questions of boys and girls is about pubertal development and sexual intercourses. Less numerous are questions about pregnancy, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for prevention.
Keywords: Early adolescence, sexual education, affective education, prevention, gender differences.