184929 Sex 101: Parents' support of sexuality education in schools and churches

Monday, October 27, 2008

Erica L. Spies, BA , College of Public Health, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Shelly Campo, PhD , Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa, College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA
Natoshia M. Askelson, MPH, PhD , Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Mary E. Losch, PhD , Center for Social & Behavioral Research, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
The debate continues about where sex education should take place. A statewide reproductive health survey in the Midwest interviewed 805 parents about sexuality education. Parents were asked whether they agreed that schools and churches should educate children about reproductive health, sexuality or birth control. The vast majority (91.7%) supported schools educating children about reproductive health, 80.3% supported schools educating children about sexuality and 81.5% supported schools educating children about birth control. A smaller majority of parents supported churches educating children about reproductive health (58.5%) and sexuality (59.5%), while only 50.1% supported churches educating children about birth control. When comparing parents' support of education in schools to education in churches, parental support for education in schools was significantly higher than their support of education in churches. Interestingly, when participants were asked about whether parents should discuss birth control with their children, 97.4% agreed, which is higher in comparison to parental support for birth control education in schools or churches. Higher income parents showed more support for schools and churches teaching about reproductive health and churches teaching about sexuality. More educated parents also expressed greater agreement with schools teaching reproductive health than less educated parents. While support for churches was high, it appears that when faced with a choice, parents prefer schools to provide sexuality education outside of the home. This provides further evidence that school-based sexuality education is acceptable to the vast majority of parents and indicates these programs should be evaluated for their content and effectiveness.

Learning Objectives:
Appreciate parentsí support for sexuality education. Recognize that parents show more support for sexuality education in schools in comparison to churches. Assess the degree to which sociodemographic factors influence parental support of sexuality education schools and churches.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA M.S. in Community and Behavioral Health, expected May 2009 University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA B.A. in Family Services, May 2007 Senior Honors Thesis Ė Father-Son Bonding: The Influence of Paternal Relationships on College Malesí Sexual Behavior and Values Midwestern Psychological Association Meeting, Psi Chi Poster Session, Chicago, IL Poster Presentation, May 3, 2007 UNIís College of Social & Behavioral Sciences Student Research Conference, Cedar Falls, IA Poster and Oral Presentation, April 21, 2007 Honors Research Conference, Cedar Falls, IA Oral Presentation, April 14, 2007 Research at the Capitol, Des Moines, IA Poster Presentation, March 6, 2007
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.