Sex on the beach, part 3: A media analysis of school-based sexuality education changes in Florida
Monday, November 4, 2013
: 11:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Compared with young people across the U.S., Florida youth engage in first sex at younger ages and are less likely to report using condoms/birth control pills at last intercourse. Although school-based sexuality education (sex-ed) is one strategy to address these outcomes, such education is locally determined and inconsistent across the state. Recently, some Florida districts have changed from an abstinence-only approach to a more progressive form of sex-ed. The purpose of this research was to examine how the media frame the local school-based sex-ed policy change discourse. A systematic review/analysis of media in four Florida counties was conducted by searching local newspapers, identified through the Florida Press Association, using standard search terms. Articles published two years prior to the date of policy change or six months after were retrieved. We analyzed 125 articles referencing sex-ed policy/curriculum changes in primary/secondary schools. Most stories were opinion articles, such as letters-to-the-editor or op-eds, followed by news pieces. Media influenced sex-ed public/policy debates by framing, and the primary media frame was that abstinence-only curricula have failed children and sex-ed is needed that is age-appropriate/medically accurate. Media outlets used quotes, statistics, and comparisons for messaging. School board officials/administrators were quoted more often than those affected directly by the sex-ed policy change (i.e., students, parents). It is important that parents/students reach out to reporters to become the quoted authorities on issues directly affecting them. Media analyses are useful in understanding how local policy changes occur and identifying the sociocultural, historical, and policy-related context of sex-ed discourses.
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe how to conduct a content analysis to understand how media frames and shapes the issue of sexuality education.
Describe the role and evaluate the success of media in assisting in sexuality education policy/curriculum change.
Keyword(s): School Health, Youth
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a graduate research assistant on this project, and have been centrally involved in all phases of the research.
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.