Online Program

Community attitudes toward sexual health education in schools embedded within a conservative social ecological setting

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Michael Dunn, PhD, Department of Health Sciences, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC
John F. Yannessa, PhD, Department of Health Sciences, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC
Sharon Thompson, EdD, Department of Health Sciences, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC
Fredanna M'Cormack, PhD, Department of Health Sciences, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC
There has been much controversy in the United States regarding the inclusion of certain sexual health information in schools, considering the problem of pregnancy and risky sexual behaviors among teens. Although extensive research has been conducted with schools and parents regarding sexual education content, less research has focused on community dwelling members. Additionally less research has explored these attitudes within a conservative environment. A dual sampling approach of landlines and cell phones resulted in 988 adults from two counties completing The South Carolina Survey of Public Opinion on Pregnancy Prevention. Analyses conducted included Chi-square and General Linear Model Analysis of Variance. A significant majority of supporting participants (87.1%) felt that sexual education topics should be taught in grades 6 to 8 (p<.001). Few supporters (28.7%) believed that providing birth control information makes it more likely for teens to have sex (p=.069). There was general consensus that schools and community settings should do more to prevent teen pregnancy. Despite a conservative climate, respondents of the current study support comprehensive sexual health education being taught in schools and the community. Policy makers and administrators should consider constituents' desire to have comprehensive sexual health education to address teen pregnancy.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the role of sexuality education in schools. Describe the community perception of sexuality education in schools. Describe community additude toward sexuality education in schools.

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 14 years of experience in public health research. I have also presented at APHA and other national conferences in the past.
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.