178383 Relationship between school-based comprehensive sexuality education of adolescents and the teenage pregnancy rate for ten selected counties in Minnesota

Monday, October 27, 2008

Amy S. Hedman, PhD, CHES , Health Science, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Mankato, MN
Dawn Larsen, PhD CHES , Department of Health Science, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Mankato, MN
This research assessed the scope of comprehensive sexuality education offered to public high school students, using 39 topics defined by SIECUS's Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education, and determined if a correlation existed between the number of topics emphasized during sexuality education and the corresponding county's teenage pregnancy rate, for a sample of 10 Minnesotan counties. A survey was sent to 104 educators within 10 counties. This study demonstrated that a mean of 24 of the 39 SIECUS Guidelines' key sexuality topics were addressed among the sample of public high schools. No significant correlation r(7) = 0.50, p = .915 was found between pregnancy rates and the average number of sexuality topics reported to receive emphasis in class. In addition, no significant correlation r(7) = .001, p = .998 was found between the pregnancy rates of the ten counties and the mean total weeks reportedly spent on sexuality education during grades 9-12. Topics most reported to receive major emphasis were decision-making at 66% (n=19), communication at 62% (n=18), STDs at 62% (n=18), and sexual abstinence at 59% (n=17). Topics most likely to receive no emphasis included sexual fantasy at 76% (n=22), masturbation at 66% (n=19), sexuality and religion at 48% (n=14), human sexual response at 48% (n=14), and sexual orientation at 48% (n=14). Based on results of this study, inclusion of comprehensive sexuality education into sexuality education courses was not correlated with lower teenage pregnancy rates.

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify the 39 key topics included in SIECUS's Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education. 2) Identify sexuality topics that were reported to most likely receive major emphasis in the classroom and those most likely to receive no emphasis. 3) Identify the relationship between comprehensive sexuality education and teenage pregnancy rates as observed in this study.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I meet all the guidelines as presented in the APHA Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.