A Comprehensive Review of Forms of Sexual Education and Analysis of an mHealth Comprehensive Sexual Education – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

A Comprehensive Review of Forms of Sexual Education and Analysis of an mHealth Comprehensive Sexual Education

Anna Hart

Anna Hart

Pronouns: she/her

Research Mentor(s): David Cordova Jr, Associate Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Social Work, School of Social Work
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 3 (1pm-1:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 7
Presenter: 2

Event Link


The US has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy among developing countries with approximately 200,000 babies born to teens aged 15 to 19 in 2016 (1,2). Additionally, nearly 50% of diagnosed STIs are seen in people under the age of 25 (3). These high rates of teen pregnancy and STIs may be due to abstinence-only sex education in schools, which some studies show have minimal effectiveness in preventing STIs and teen pregnancy (4). Michigan state policy requires an emphasis on abstinence, and some schools choose not to provide information on contraceptives at all (5). The purpose of this study was to assess whether abstinence-only sexual education provides the same teen level of education as comprehensive sexual education using a review of relevant literature to compare the two. Furthermore, we assessed the benefits of using an mHealth prevention app as a method of comprehensive sex education. In order to compare abstinence-only sexual education and comprehensive sexual education, a review of relevant literature was conducted via a peer-reviewed literature database, Pubmed. Additionally, data from an mHealth prevention focused on comprehensive sex education were analyzed to assess sexual knowledge, risk behavior comprehension, and future intention. This intervention was implemented at the Corner Health Center, a medical clinic in Ypsilanti, Michigan that serves a predominantly low-income minority community (6). Based on participants’ responses, there was a 3.55% increase in participants who planned to use a condom at baseline compared to 6-months. According to the literature review, not only does comprehensive sex education show a higher reduction in teen pregnancy and STIs compared to abstinence-only practices, but an mHealth intervention app may enhance this outcome even further. In the future, using mHealth interventions may be a feasible form of comprehensive, interactive, sex education, and should be implemented in Michigan high schools to help reduce STI and Teen pregnancy rates. 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, March 1). About Teen Pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/index.htm#:~:text=In%202017%2C%20a%20total%20of,drop%20of%207%25%20from%202016.&text=Birth%20rates%20fell%2010%25%20for,women%20aged%2018%E2%80%9319%20years. 2. Kearney, M. S., & Levine, P. B. (2012). Why is the teen birth rate in the United States so high and why does it matter?. The journal of economic perspectives : a journal of the American Economic Association, 26(2), 141-166. https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.26.2.141 3.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, July 30). STDs in Adolescents and Young Adults – 2018 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats18/adolescents.htm. 4. Ott MA, Santelli JS. Abstinence and abstinence-only education. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Oct;19(5):446-52. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e3282efdc0b. PMID: 17885460; PMCID: PMC5913747. 5. 5.Santelli, J. S., Kantor, L. M., Grilo, S. A., Speizer, I. S., Lindberg, L. D., Heitel, J., Schalet, A. T., Lyon, M. E., Mason-Jones, A. J., McGovern, T., Heck, C. J., Rogers, J., & Ott, M. A. (2017). Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage: An Updated Review of U.S. Policies and Programs and Their Impact. The Journal of adolescent health: official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 61(3), 273-280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.05.031 6. https://www.cornerhealth.org/. 7. Kohler, P. K., Manhart, L. E., & Lafferty, W. E. (2008). Abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education and the initiation of sexual activity and teen pregnancy. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 42(4), 344-351. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.08.026

Authors: Libby Kelley, Anna Hart, Sydni Warner, David Cordova
Research Method: Survey Research

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