EFFECTS OF ALTERNATIVE SEX EDUCATION POLICIES ON ADOLESCENTS' SEXUAL RISK BEHAVIOR: TOWARDS BETTER HIGH SCHOOL SEX EDUCATION
Kay, Ward R
This study examines the effect of current U.S. high school sex education policies on students' sexual risk behavior. While many researchers have attempted to identify the factors that influence adolescent sexual risk behavior, there is a lack of consensus regarding the relation between sex education and adolescents' sexual risky practices. Moreover, none of the studies has investigated the effectiveness of different sex education policies based on the nation-wide data. My research, employing data from the latest 2009 Youth Risky Behavior Survey covering 46 states in a logistic multi-regression model, and controlling for demographic variables and other factors which contribute to risky sexual behaviors. The study demonstrates the different effects of six sex education policy combinations on students' sexual risk behaviors. It finds that all the sex education policies that contain the abstinence-only education are positively related to students' sexual risky behavior. However, comprehensive sex education policies that combine contraception with abstinence education are negatively related to sexual risky behaviors. The most effective sex education policy is the one that covers all four aspects of sex education: general sex education, HIV/STD education, abstinence, and contraception. This conclusion suggest that the ideal sex education policy needs to convince adolescents to postpone sexual activity as a preferred choice, to promote the use of contraception among sexual active youth, and to teach accurate information and negotiating skills to eliminate sexual risk factors in general.
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