Does Source of Sex Education Predict Adolescents' Sexual Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors?

By Somers, Cheryl L.; Gleason, Jamie H. | Education, Summer 2001 | Go to article overview

Does Source of Sex Education Predict Adolescents' Sexual Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors?


Somers, Cheryl L., Gleason, Jamie H., Education


Many factors have been found to influence teen sexual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. For example, parent-child communication has been linked to greater sexual knowledge and more conservative sexual attitudes (Fisher, 1986). Similarly, of researchers that have measured relations between closeness and sexuality, most have found that parent-adolescent relationships, mother-daughter in particular, made an impact on adolescent sexual behavior (e.g., Fox, 1981; Miller & Fox, 1987).

Sexual education programs in schools have generally had positive effects on adolescent sexual knowledge (Finkel & Finkel, 1985; Melchert & Burnett, 1990), but have also been found not to influence adolescents' sexual attitudes (Finkel & Finkel, 1985) or behaviors (Maslach & Kerr, 1983). One study reported that neither the presence nor absence of contraceptive education in a sample of high school students was correlated with the students' contraceptive behaviors (Taylor, Wang, Jack & Adame, 1989), whereas another reported that a school-based sex education program seemed to have a positive effect on the students' condom use (Kvalem, Sundet, Rivo, Eilertsen & Bakketeig, 1996).

The impact of peers has also been explored. Generally, adolescents reported greater sexual activity when they believed that their friends were also sexually active, whether or not they really were (Brooks-Gunn & Furstenberg, 1989), and when they had older siblings modeling sexually active behavior (East, Felice, & Morgan, 1993; Rodgers & Rowe, 1988). Also, it has been reported that students who identify peers as a source of education are no less knowledgeable about sexual topics than were those who named parents as a source (Handelsman, Cabral & Weisfeld, 1987).

Education about sexuality undoubtedly comes from the media as well. One analysis of teenagers' top ten programs showed that more than a quarter of the shows contained interactions of sexual content. Most of the messages concerned men seeing women as sex objects, sex as a competition, sex as a defining aspect of masculinity, and sex as fun and exciting (Ward, 1995). Music video consumption, as well, was found to be a powerful predictor of female adolescents' sexual attitudes (Strouse & Buerkel-Rothfuss, 1987). Studies have also examined the impact of media on sexual behavior as well as sexual attitudes. For example, one study found that females who viewed more hours of music videos and prime-time programming were more likely to endorse notions that females are sex objects, males are sex driven, and that dating is a game, whereas there seemed to be no association with their own sexual behaviors (Ward, 2000). Clearly, studies have examined the independent impacts of various sources of sex education on teens' sexual outcomes. It is less clear, however, which sexuality outcomes are influenced by different sources, and which sources have greater general influences.

Some studies have compared school and parent sources of sex education and found in-home sex education to be more effective than in-school sex education in terms of reducing sexual behaviors (Fisher, 1986; Warren & Neer, 1986). But generally, there is a lack of comparison of sex education sources that motivated the current study. Most studies evaluated only one source at a time. Stemming from the debate about who should be responsible for sex education (e.g., parents, schools, etc.), the researchers were interested in whether or not differing influences exist among these sources. Additionally, most research has considered only two or three sexual development variables (knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors) in the same study. The purpose of this study was to explore the comparative contribution that multiple sources of education about sexual topics (family, peers, media, school, and professionals) make on teen sexual knowledge, attitudes and behavior.

Method

Participants

Participants in this study were 157 boys (n = 62) and girls (n = 95) in the ninth through twelfth grades. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Does Source of Sex Education Predict Adolescents' Sexual Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.