243829 Parental opinion of school sexuality education in a diverse population

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 12:56 PM

Janet Heller, PhD, MA, CHES , Department of Health, Physical Education and Wellness, Bronx Community College/City University of New York, Bronx, NY
The purpose of this study was to expand upon previous research related to parental opinion of school sexuality education by using a diverse population that has been underrepresented in the literature. One hundred and ninety-one parents attending an urban, community college were surveyed about what topics schools should teach their children about sexuality education. The majority of sex education topics were supported by 80% of parents. There was a significant negative correlation between attendance at religious services and support for school sex education (r = -.20). There was no correlation between support for school sex education and race/ethnicity, country of origin, or religion. Interestingly, the items related to contraceptive use were not statistically different in terms of parental support. In addition, the majority of respondents felt that the main message of school sex education should be “teaching that young people should wait to have sex, but if they don't, they should use birth control and practice safe sex” (86.4%), rather than “teaching abstinence until marriage” (12%). These findings were counter-intuitive because the sample population was of diverse ethnicity, and the majority had emigrated from countries considered socially conservative. Thus, the sample population was more supportive of comprehensive sexuality education than hypothesized, the results being unexpectedly consistent with national and state-wide surveys.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
1. List sexuality education topics supported by 80% of parents. 2. List sexuality education topics supported by less than 50% of parents 3. Identify correlations between support for sex education and religiosity, religion, race/ethnicity, and country of origin

Keywords: Sexuality, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I conducted this research study and have been teaching in the area of sexuality education for the past 19 years. I have earned a Master's Degree in Health Education, Doctorate in Educational Psychology, and am a Certified Health Education Specialist.
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.