The social meanings of the C-Card scheme: The importance of friends and peers

Mandy Cheetham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper draws on findings from an analysis of interviews with young people aged 14-18 years, to explore the peer influences in young people's informal social networks which can affect their access to sexual health services. The research focuses on the social meanings of a C-Card condom distribution scheme in North East England. Such schemes are widespread in the UK as a way of providing access to condoms and sexual health advice for young people in health and community settings. Focusing on one aspect of a broader study, the paper outlines the important social, emotional and practical resources provided by young people's chosen friendship groups in the process of acquiring a C-Card, which offers a route to accessing sex and relationships advice and condoms. Informal peer networks inform attitudes and expectations which can influence gendered patterns of behaviour. Through a focus on the educational possibilities of the C-Card scheme, the study suggests a need to revisit the dynamics of young people's peer relationships and harness their potential to influence sexual attitudes and behaviour in positive ways, rather than simply seeing these always as a source of negative pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-127
Number of pages13
JournalSex Education
Issue number2
Early online date25 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


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