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The purpose of this research was to identify perceived barriers and facilitators of health from the perspective of rural Kenyan adolescents and to characterize the cultural context that shapes these barriers and facilitators. Design: Following a semistructured interview guide, qualitative focus group interviews were conducted at day schools with 64 upper-primary and secondary students in rural central Kenya. Participants provided written parental consent and individual assent for study participation. Results: Findings were organized into seven categories (individual, family, peer, school, community, institutional, and cultural) according to a social–ecological framework to highlight the multiple social and environmental contexts that shape health the experiences rural Kenyan youth. Conclusions: The prevalence and complexity of factors that shape the health experiences of young people in rural Kenya displayed in these findings adds context to the importance of utilizing multipronged approaches to improving adolescent health by focusing on the social contextual determinants of health behaviors and outcomes.


Originally published in Sage Journal of Transcultural Nursing in May of 2016