Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 101–109 | Cite as

Parents’ Beliefs Regarding Sex Education for Their Children in Southern Alabama Public Schools

  • Vaughn MillnerEmail author
  • Madhuri Mulekar
  • Julio Turrens


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.


Teen 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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vaughn Millner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Madhuri Mulekar
    • 2
  • Julio Turrens
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Professional StudiesUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA

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