Abstaining from abstinence: Pennsylvania voters’ views of sexual health education in public high schools

Pennsylvania adolescents face an increased risk for numerous sexual, physical, and emotional health issues. For example, young adults account for the highest proportion of new HIV cases, and over one in ten high schoolers experience sexual violence. Yet, the state’s pro-abstinence sexual health education policies fail to successfully address these issues. Decades of research have shown that comprehensive sex education (CSE), which has overwhelming public and professional support, provides a superior education and decreases rates of teen health problems. One reason policies have remained unchanged is that some lawmakers may believe that previous studies do not reflect their constituents’ views. To assess the validity of these claims, this study replicated nationwide research on CSE support at the state level. Pennsylvania voters were recruited using an online crowdsourcing marketplace and surveyed on their opinions of CSE. The 562 participants answered questions about mandating healthy relationship, abstinence, and contraceptive instruction among other related CSE topics. It was found that at least 80% of voters supported all but two of the CSE topics examined regardless of political or religious affiliations. By sharing the results of the research with lawmakers, public school systems, and other interested groups, there will be increased awareness of the negative consequences associated with a lack of CSE for adolescents. In addition, by gathering the views of Pennsylvania voters, policymakers can make informed decisions regarding sexual health education mandates. Not only can the research impact communities across Pennsylvania, but it can inspire future research and promote policy change nationwide.

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Work Title Abstaining from abstinence: Pennsylvania voters’ views of sexual health education in public high schools
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Open Access
Creators
  1. Yasmeen Benamar
  2. Raffy Luquis
License CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives)
Work Type Poster
Publication Date 2022
Deposited May 23, 2023

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Version 1
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    Acknowledgments
    • Raffy Luquis
  • Added Creator Yasmeen Benamar
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    License
    • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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Version 2
published

  • Created
  • Deleted Creator Emily Mross
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  • Updated Acknowledgments Show Changes
    Acknowledgments
    • Raffy Luquis
  • Added Creator Raffy Luquis
  • Updated