Parents’ Beliefs Regarding Sex Education for Their Children in Southern Alabama Public Schools
- 2.2k Downloads
This study investigated the attitudes of parents of public school children in a conservative southern U.S. metropolitan area concerning the incorporation of a variety of adolescent pregnancy prevention strategies taught in the public school curriculum. It also assessed how attitudes from parents living in high risk teen pregnancy zip codes compared to the attitudes from parents living in the larger community. A telephone survey included 402 randomly selected parents from Mobile County, Alabama and an additional 120 Mobile County parents who lived in specific regions with high rates of teen pregnancy (target group). When the participants from the entire group were asked if schools should teach sex education, almost 80 % responded affirmatively and 16.5 % responded negatively. There were statistically significant income, education, and race differences between the at-large and target groups and statistically significant differences in parents' attitudes about whether or not their children should be taught about abstinence and other methods for preventing adolescent pregnancy in public schools. More than three-fourths of both groups, however, supported an assortment of adolescent pregnancy prevention strategies, a finding that could belie statistical difference in opinions between the two groups. The results suggest there is strong parental support for an approach to sex education in Alabama public schools that extends beyond abstinence-only. Informing state public policy-makers of these research findings could result in a sustained investment in the implementation of evidence-based adolescent sex education programs appropriate for the adolescents served.
KeywordsTeen pregnancy prevention Adolescent sexual health Health education
This manuscript was supported by Grant/Cooperative Agreement Number 1U58DP002880-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through a partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Population Affairs. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC or HHS.
- Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama Center for Health Statistics Division (2009). Births to teenagers as a percent of all births by county of residence and race of mother. Retrieved from http://adph.org/healthstats/assets/avs09tbl18.pdf
- Aron, A., Aron, E. N., & Coups, E. J. (2008). Statistics for the behavioral and social sciences. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Google Scholar
- Baldassare, M. (2005). PPIC statewide survey: Special survey on population in collaboration with The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Public Policy Institute of California. Retrieved from: http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=652
- Bonell, C., Allen, E., Strange, V., Oakley, A., Copas, A., Johnson, A., & Stephenson, J. (2006). Influence of family types and parenting behaviors on teenage sexual behaviour and conceptions. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 60(6), 502–506. doi: 10.1136/jech.2005.042838.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Vital signs: teen pregnancy—United States. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 60(13), 414–420. doi: 10.1542/aapnews. 2011326-12. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6013a5.htm.Google Scholar
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014, January). Reported STDS in the United States: 2012 national data for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/STD-Trends-508.pdf
- Future of Sex Education Initiative (2011). National sexuality education standards: core content and skills, K-12 [ a special publication of the Journal of School Health 2011]. Available at: http://www.futureofsexeducation.org/documents/josh-fose-standards-web.pdf.
- Gallup (2009, January 28). State of the states: importance of religion. Available at: http://www.gallup.com/poll/114022/state-states-importance-religion.aspx#
- Gallup (2013, February 1). Politics: Alabama, North Dakota, Wyoming most conservative states. Available at: http://www.gallup.com/poll/160196/alabama-north-dakota-wyomingconservative-states.aspx
- Griffin, S. F., Reininger, B. M., Parra-Medina, D., Evans, A. E., Sanderson, M., & Vincent, M. L. (2005). Development of multidimensional scales to measure key leaders’ perceptions of community capacity and organizational capacity for teen pregnancy prevention. Family Community Health, 28(4), 307–319.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Guttmacher Institute (2013). State policies in brief: sex and HIV education. Available at: http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_SE.pdf. Accessed 7 Mar 2014.
- Hoff, T., Greene, L., McIntosh, M., Rawlings, N., & D’Amico, J. (2000). Sex education in America: a series of national surveys of students, parents, teachers and principals. Washington, DC: Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from: http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2000/09/3048-sex-education-in-america-a-view-from-inside-the-nations-classrooms.pdf.Google Scholar
- Hoffman, S. D., & Maynard, R. A. (1997). Kids having kids: Economic costs and social consequences of teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
- Ito, K. E., Gizlice, Z., Owen-O’Dowd, J., Foust, E., Leone, P. A., & Miller, W. C. (2006). Parent opinion of sexuality education in a state with mandated abstinence education: does policy match parental preference? Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 634–641. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.04.022.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- JMP Statistical Discovery Software, version 7.0. Cary, NC: SAS Institution Inc.Google Scholar
- Kaiser Family Foundation (2004). NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School Poll. Sex education in America (publication #705). Retrieved from http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/sex-education-in-america-summary.pdf
- Kirby, D (2007b). Emerging answers 2007: Research findings on programs to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2007, 15. Retrieved from: https://thenationalcampaign.org/sites/default/files/resource-primary-download/EA2007_full_0.pdf
- MacDorman, M. & Kirmeyer, S. (2009). The challenge of fetal mortality. NCHD Data Brief, National Center for Health Statistics, No. 16. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db16.pdf
- Markham, C. M., Tortolero, S., Peskin, M. F., Shegog, R., Thiel, M., Baumler, E. R., Addy, R. C., Escobar-Chaves, S. L., Reininger, B., & Robin, L. (2012). Sexual risk avoidance and sexual risk reduction interventions for middle school youth: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 50(3), 279–288. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.07.010.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Mathews, T.J., Sutton, P.D., Hamilton, B.E., & Ventura, S.J. (2010). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Disparities in Teenage Birth Rates in the United States. NCHD Data Brief No. 46, National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db46.pdf
- McCave, E. L. (2007). Comprehensive sexuality education vs. abstinence-only sexuality education: the need for evidence-based research and practice. School of Social Work Journal, 32(1), 14–28.Google Scholar
- Mueller, T. E., Gavin, L. E., & Kulkarni, A. (2008). The association between sex education and youth’s engagement in sexual intercourse, age at first intercourse, and birth control use at first sex. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(1), 89–96. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.08.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2008). U.S. religious landscape survey: Religious beliefs and practices. Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
- Satterwhite, C. L., Torrone, E., Meites, E., Dunne, E. F., Mahajan, R., Ocfemia, M. C., Su, J., Xu, F., & Weinstock, H. (2013). Sexually transmitted infections among U.S. women and men: prevalence and incidence estimates, 2008. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 40(3), 187–193. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318286bb53.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sexuality Information and Sex Council and Education Council of the United States (2013). Who supports comprehensive sexuality education? Retrieved from: http://www.siecus.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.ViewPage&PageID=1198
- Shearer, D. L., Gyaben, S. L., Gallagher, K. M., & Klerman, L. V. (2005). Selecting, implementing, and evaluating teen pregnancy prevention interventions: lessons from the CDC Community Coalition Partnership Programs for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy. Journal of Adolescent Health, 37, S42–S52. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2005.05.009.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Tompson, T., Benz, J. & Agiesta, J. (2013). Parents attitudes on the quality of education in the United States, 2013. The Associated Press—NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Retrieved from: www.apnorc.org.
- Tortolero, S. R., Markham, C. M., Peskin, M. F., Shegog, R., Addy, R. C., Escobar-Chaves, L., & Baumler, E. R. (2010). It’s your game: keep it real: delaying sexual behavior with an effective middle school program. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46(2), 169–179. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.06.008.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Trenholm, C., Devaney, B., Fortson, K., Clark, M., Quay, L., & Wheeler, J. (2008). Impacts of abstinence education on teen sexual activity, risk of pregnancy, and risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27(2), 255–276. doi: 10.1002/pam.20324.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- U.S. Department of Education (2011). Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service (2011). Prevalence and implementation fidelity of research-based programs in public schools. Final report, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012). Using systematic reviews to inform policy initiatives. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. D.C.: Washington.Google Scholar
- United Nations Statistical Division (2012). Demographic yearbook. New York, NY: United Nations. Retrieved from: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/dybsets/2012.pdf
- University of North Carolina (Survey Research Unit) and Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina. (2009). North Carolina parent opinion survey of public school sexuality education: an update to the 2003 Survey. NC: Chapel Hill. Retrieved from: http://www.nchealthyschools.org/docs/data/parent/2009opinion-survey.pdf.Google Scholar