Efficacy of Sex Education Programs for People with Intellectual Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis


The aim of this meta-analysis was to examine the effectiveness of sex education programs for people with intellectual disabilities, exploring the effects of possible moderating variables. 31 independent studies were identified, from 8 research reports published between 1988 and 2017. The results revealed mean effect sizes in favor of the experimental group, being of large magnitude for the components inappropriate behaviors (d = − 1.26) and Decision making (d = − 1.03), and of moderate magnitude for the global effect (d = − .64). The analyses revealed that single-sex groups, publications between 2000 and 2009 and a high degree of training and experience to deliver the programs were moderating variables that had a great effect on the effectiveness of the programs for the global effect component. Similar results were obtained for the decision making dimension while no significant moderating variables were found for the inappropriate behaviors dimension. Understanding how effective sex educational programs work is essential to this social group. Practical implications are discussed from the results obtained.

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Correspondence to Ricardo Sanmartín.

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Gonzálvez, C., Fernández-Sogorb, A., Sanmartín, R. et al. Efficacy of Sex Education Programs for People with Intellectual Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis. Sex Disabil 36, 331–347 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11195-018-9545-9

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  • Intellectual disability
  • Sex education program
  • Meta-analysis
  • Efficacy
  • Spain