Online Program

5th grade isn't enough: The need for continuous and comprehensive school-based sex education for nuliparous, primiparous and multiparous adolescents. a qualitative study

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Evelyn King-Marshall, PhD, MPH, Department of Behavioral Science Community Health, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Barbara Curbow, PhD, Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Each year, there are approximately 750,000 pregnancies among US teens ages 15-19 (Kost, 2010). Utilizing explorative qualitative methods, we examined the definition of life success; opinions of sex, marriage and relationships, and sex education (exposure and quality). Using snowball sampling, 30 nuliparous, primiparous and multiparous girls between ages 16-18 participated in an interview (avg 50 mins). Quantitative survey measures were used in conjunction. The average age was 17.4 YO, 53% were African American, and 66% attended high school full-time. Eighteen participants had one or more children. Sixty-percent (N=18) report being currently or previously sexually active (sex > 3 times in the previous month). Participants recalled “the sex talk” in the 4th, 5th or 6th grade “that's when they separated the girls and boys… they [teachers] gave us the basics.” When probed further some recalled specifics about pregnancy, STD's and birth control. Few noted continued or recent sex education. “I am not sure if they give more sex education, perhaps science class? I am really not sure. ” Few spoke of a unique experiences “Yes, in Anatomy…but she was breaking the rules, cause we're a abstinence-only district. She talked about condoms and everything. ” Furthermore, while participants (sexually active and not) knew of the ‘best ways' to prevent pregnancy and STDs (abstinence, condoms, birth control, and frequent testing) participants reported inconsistent behavior. Continuous and comprehensive sex education including STD/ pregnancy prevention available to all students can help ensure safe sex practices, reduce rates of teen pregnancy, and repeat pregnancy.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the reasons why continued school-based comprehensive sex education is essential for both sexually abstinent, sexually active and parenting teens.

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have studied and worked in adolescent, maternal and child health for 6 years. Pervious to undertaking this dissertation project, I worked as a grant funded abstinence only program manager at a county health department.
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.