Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring adolescent mothers' perceptions of school-based sexuality education
by Jones, Tammy C. King, Ph.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 2009, 96; 3371360
Abstract (Summary)

Background/significance. Adolescent sexual risk-taking in the United States has become a public health crisis. One of the primary preventative efforts for adolescent sexual risk-taking is school-based sexuality education (SBSE). The effectiveness of SBSE programs has been limited, with little attention given to gaining adolescent perceptions of these programs. The purpose of this study was to gain unique and "expert" insight by exploring adolescent mothers' perceptions of SBSE.

Methods. A qualitative feminist design was used to explore the perceptions of 15 adolescent mothers 15-19 years of age. Participants were recruited using purposive sampling from a community women's health clinic. Data were collected by conducting individual in-depth audiotaped interviews. Descriptive statistics, content analysis, and constant comparison were used to analyze data.

Results. The sample was comprised of eight African-American, four Caucasian, and three Hispanic participants. The mean age of participants was 17 years with a reported age for first vaginal intercourse from 13 to 18 years. All had participated in some type of SBSE and each was asked to share what they remembered about the SBSE they had received. Participants compared and contrasted SBSE received with what they would have preferred, leading to the themes "Weak Sex Ed" and "Cool Sex Ed" These two themes revealed perceived inadequacies of SBSE and suggestions for improvement related to the content, structure, and presentation of programs. A third theme emerged, "Drivers for Sexual Risk-taking", when participants described significant influences on sexual decision-making. These influences included curiosity, "fitting-in", forbidden fruit, partner pressure, peer pressure, and media and were categorized as internal and external drivers.

Implications. The study findings have implications for improving current comprehensive sexuality education programs. In addition, preventative efforts should include a focus on the influential factors identified. The insight from the participants can inform educators, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and parents on how to meet the sexuality education needs of adolescents.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Barone, Claudia
School: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
School Location: United States -- Arkansas
Source: DAI-B 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Nursing, Health education
Keywords: Adolescent sexual risk-taking, Adolescents, Pregnant adolescents, Qualitative feminist research, Sex education
Publication Number: 3371360
ISBN: 978-1-109-33604-7
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