Sexual and Gender Diverse Adolescents and the Failures of Traditional Education in Public Education: Annotated Bibliography
I am considering using the sources listed below to write a research paper on whether abstinence-only sexual education as taught in public schools is as effective as comprehensive sexual education programs in reducing negative effects from sexual activity in students which are defined as increases in teen pregnancy rates and sexually transmitted diseases. I am not fully confident of my topic yet and I might need to narrow the focus of my thesis.
1. Blount, J. M. (2016). Controlling Sex: Modern Histories of Sex Education. Reviews in American History, 44(4), 611-620.
This article discusses the recent publication of both scientific and historical studies that have been published on the history of sexuality. This article was published by Johns Hopkins University Press. The authors recognize that writings in sexual education history are lacking due to a few challenges -good scholarship requires understanding young people as sexual beings and acknowledging the sexuality of adults who work with them- but suggests that these challenges can be overcome if they are understood and correlated into collected data. Some themes recognized by the authors in sexual education historical scholarship are the political controversy over sexual education, the segregation of students by gender and race in teaching situations, tendencies to normalize and perpetuate specific gender and sexuality norms, and racial stereotypes. This article reviews both published articles and books in which the history of sexuality has been researched and presented and suggests either faults or successes of each. This article really won’t be of much help for use in a short cited paper as almost all materials reviewed are books which require a great deal of time to read, utilize, and cite appropriately. I did enjoy reading the article and perusing its recommendations; if the time frame for paper preparation and development was longer, the sources cited in the article would be quite helpful. This was the article that I enjoyed the most out of all the ones read.
2. Denny, G., & Young, M. (2006). An Evaluation of an Abstinence‐Only Sex Education Curriculum: An 18‐Month Follow‐up. Journal of School Health, 76(8), 414-422.
This article discusses research into how successful abstinence-only sexual education programs are in achieving their stated goals: that students will abstain from all sexual contact and activity except within the context of marriage. Research data was collected as part of an 18 month follow-up evaluation with both students and teachers recruited from fifteen school districts; curriculum was taught to participating upper elementary, middle school and high school students. The research suggests that for some students, this form of sexual education led to less sexual activity and more positive knowledge and greater intent to remain abstinent was achieved long term. Research conducted included attempts to create controlled conditions for teaching and organizing data, both pretests and post test for participants. Sample size was quite large and the questionnaires (tests) given to students were extensive; however, the study is fairly limited due to the inability to randomly choose research participants, concerns about validity of self reported data, and a sizable group of students that did not participate in the follow up research. This article is consistent to the results reported in #3 and may be based on the same data set. However, as some of the data listed appears to be contradicted by other sources, I think this article needs to be carefully assessed to see if it is biased or if the data isn’t being presented appropriately. I think this could be an great secondary source if the article can be validated as the information provided does give specific data supporting positive results for abstinence-only education.
3. Denny, G., Young, M., Rausch, S., & Spear, C. (2002). An evaluation of an abstinence education curriculum series: Sex Can Wait. American Journal Of Health Behavior, 26(5), 366-377.
This article presents findings from a study of the effects of a particular abstinence program titled “Sex Can Wait.” The series was taught to students in upper elementary, junior high, and high school levels with the goals of the program being to delay sexual initiation, develop life skills and self esteem in participants, and produce positive changes both in attitude towards abstinence and recent sexual behavior. To obtain the results described, participants for the study were recruited from fifteen school districts, divided by grade level into two separate groups. One group was taught the “Sex Can Wait” protocols and the second group was taught the “current practice” protocol. Teachers also received training in the “Sex Can Wait” curriculum which follows the guidelines set up in Title V. The data collected suggests that teachers are satisfied with the training provided to them, followed the curriculum as presented, and that positive impact outcomes for students in some grade levels was achieved. The authors also state that the research shows that for some grade levels new knowledge was not retained after the program completion, suggesting some failure either in the teaching or curriculum itself. However, final findings describe some positive outcomes for elementary and high school students that were taught the “Sex Can Wait” protocol including abstinent behavior and transitional sexual behavior (from virgin to non-virgin status.) However, based on questions acknowledged during the study, sexual behavior was defined as vaginal virginity and heterosexual penile penetration, suggesting that all other forms of sexual intimacy were neither acknowledged or studied. This suggested to me that the data may be missing many aspects of teen sexual behavior, skewing the results. This research was funded by the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs which is a program through the office of the US Department of Health and Human Services. This research appears to be the same project and data presented in the article listed as #2 in this bibliography with more authors listed in this specific publication of the results. More data limitations were cited in this article than in #2 as well, suggesting better recognition of research limitations. I think that it would be a good source to use to show some positive outcomes from abstinence-only education as the majority of the articles I found support comprehensive sex education.
4. Hess, A. (2010). Hold the sex, please: the discursive politics between national and local abstinence education providers. Sex Education, 10(3), 251-266. doi:10.1080/14681811.2010.491632
This article discusses research into how abstinence-only sexual education is understood by both national organizations and by the local education providers. Using in-depth interviews with 21 grantees in New York State and participant observations from two federally supported abstinence only education conferences, this article compares and contrasts the beliefs and practicalities of the national movements that frame abstinence as both scientifically and morally legitimate and local providers who interpret their work through the lens of community norms. Some of the topics covered include how abstinence education frames student’s views on safe sex, marriage, homosexuality, decision making, good health, and foundational skills for building healthy partner relationships. It concludes with recognizing that while the federal guidelines on abstinence education discourage atypical interpretations, local education providers continue to liberally interpret the guidelines to develop strategies promoting positive student growth and sexual decisions. This source should be useful as it describes some of the different ways that abstinence education is viewed and taught, which is important when determining the effectiveness of the teaching criteria. This article has challenged my preconceived views on abstinence-only teaching protocols – I had assumed abstinence-only education meant just that- to encompass the reality of teaching a combination of both comprehensive and abstinence sexual education.
5. Jeffries, W. L., Dodge, B., Bandiera, F. C., & Reece, M. (2010). Beyond abstinence-only: relationships between abstinence education and comprehensive topic instruction. Sex Education, 10(2), 171-185. doi:10.1080/14681811003666317
This article discussed whether abstinence-only education methods are used as an end point or as part of a sexual education program that covers contraception, gender and sexual identity, etc. Using a small sample survey group of Florida teachers who were teaching subjects that made them likely to be the teachers of sexual education, this survey tried to determine the relationship between the two ways of teaching sexual education: comprehensive and abstinence-only. This study suggest that sexual education teachers who teach abstinence-only sexual education also teach topics classified that are usually part of comprehensive sexual education. However, as this study is modest due to small sample size, geographical location, political pressure on teaching and funding, and possible selection bias, it is important to recognize the limitations in the research study itself. As this study does have some limitations, it isn’t a great primary source for a research paper. However, the small sample size they used in this research is similar to some of the other papers I viewed, so this paper could be used to support their conclusions.
6. 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. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(4), 344-351.
This article uses research comparing the sexual health risks of individuals aged 15-19 years due to either abstinence-only sexual education or comprehensive sexual education protocols. Results on students who received no sexual education were collected as well and suggest that students who received a comprehensive sexual education were less likely to report teen pregnancy than those individuals who reported no sexual education at all or abstinence-only programming. Also, abstinence-only programs didn’t reduce the likelihood of engaging in vaginal intercourse. However, individuals who participated in either comprehensive sexual education or abstinence-only sexual education did not report reduced rates of sexual transmitted diseases. Another conclusion was that teaching about contraception was not associated with teenage sexual activity. This article presented statistics that show sexual behavior among teens happens at similar rates in all developed nations, however negative consequences such as teen pregnancy and STDs happen at a higher rate in the United States. The authors also acknowledge that all forms of education supported by federal funding under current law must include abstinence-only messaging. Data was collected through a nationwide survey sponsored by the National Center of Health Statistics, was based on probability samples, and was restricted to 1719 never-married heterosexual teens aged 15-19, and reported sexual education and behavior. One point of interest is that the authors acknowledge that they only used subjects that reported hetero-normative urges and behavior, which acknowledged that a large fraction of the population was left out of the study. While reading several of the other papers, I had to really hunt in the data to determine that particular sexualities and sexual practices were omitted. I found it very useful to have that information acknowledged at the outset.
7. Kirby, D., Short, L., Collins, J., Rugg, D., Kolbe, L., Howard, M., … Zabin, L. S. (1994). School-based programs to reduce sexual risk behaviors: a review of effectiveness. Public Health Reports, 109(3), 339–360.
This article reviews 23 studies of school-based programs that cataloged adolescent sexual behavior, documented negative consequences to adolescents who participate in sexual activity, and assessed ways to reduce risky sexual behavior by this population. It was determined that not all sexual and AIDS educational programs had significant effects on young adult sexual behavior, but specific programs did delay the initiation of intercourse, reduced the frequency of intercourse, reduced the number of sexual partners, and increase the use of contraception. The results include the fact that there is not sufficient evidence to show that either abstinence-only sexual education or comprehensive sexual education delay intercourse or affect other sexual behaviors. How the authors determined which studies were selected for review was carefully described and all studies selected were heavily cited with appropriate documentation of research methodology. This article is laid out in an easy to read format and includes many cited studies that I can use.
8. Rubenstein, R. (2017). Sex Education: Funding Facts, Not Fear. Health Matrix: Journal Of Law-Medicine, 27525-554.
This article uses research from many other sources to develop its thesis that sexual education in America is inconsistent both in content and application and also in its effectiveness in producing positive outcomes. It discusses how the way abstinence-only sexual education and comprehensive sexual education are compared to each other is fundamentally flawed. In short, the author states that no study can be correct in choosing which form of education is more effective when the two forms of sexual education compared do not share common goals. Comprehensive sexual education is taught to try to reduce negative impacts of sexual activity on participants and that abstinence-only programs are taught to reduce all sexual activity. Drawing on statistics and research data from many organizations, this article addresses the failures of abstinence-only education due to the teaching of medically inaccurate information, the presentation of heterosexual and gender norms as scientific fact, and the use of negative analogies (chewed gum, licked cupcakes, dirty toothbrushes, spit in cups, etc.) It suggests as a model the “California Healthy Youth Act,” which has provisions requiring scientifically and medically accurate teachings, material appropriate and inclusive of diverse learners, appropriate safety and effectiveness statistics for contraception, and passive consent procedures that require all students to be taught the required information unless the parent objects. The article compares and contrasts different ways of teaching both abstinence only educational models and comprehensive sexual education that emphasizes the failures of both types of programs when information is inaccurate or not included. The authors’ recommendations include cutting all federal funding for abstinence programs and moving funding towards programs that provide comprehensive sexual education with the provisions includes in the “CHYA” mentioned previously. This source does have a very specific slant and, while the information appears reliable from the sources cited, recognizing a potential bias is important. This source is pretty helpful because it does have a lot of carefully bulleted information with clear cited research, making the data mentioned in the paper easier to analyze and use.
9. Santelli, J., Ott, M. A., Lyon, M., Rogers, J., Summers, D., & Schleifer, R. (2006). Abstinence and abstinence-only education: a review of US policies and programs. Journal of Adolescent Health, 38(1), 72-81.
This article tries to recognize the broad support for adolescent education in this country while acknowledging the controversial ways that education is determined and taught. The authors determine that abstinence is a necessary and appropriate topic in comprehensive sexual education protocols, but recognize that abstinence only education has not been shown to be effective in producing lower rates of teenage pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. The authors of this article find, after reviewing several studies on both types of education, that the emphasis on abstinence-only education and federal funding of such is undermining more effective teaching protocols for sexual education and
10. Silva, M. (2002). The effectiveness of school-based sex education programs in the promotion of abstinent behavior: a meta-analysis. Health Education Research, 17(4), 471-48
This article presents findings from 12 studies conducted from 1987 to 2002 which focused on the overall effect of educational interventions on abstinent behavior. The author discusses the differences between the values expressed in abstinence-only and comprehensive sexual education, but recognizes that both programs strive to foster positive decision making and problem solving skills in students to help students make healthy decisions for themselves. Primary sources for research data were located using ERIC, PyschLIT, MEDLINE, and the Social Science Citation Index and these sources were then winnowed using eligibility criteria listed in the article. The findings indicate a small effect of abstinent interventions with significant variations shown in groups represented by parental participation and percentage of female participants. This article has a lot of sources and readily discusses some of the ways the author recognizes limitations in the studies analyzed; however, this will be a challenging source to use as I found it extremely difficult to understand. It feels like an article that I could really learn a lot from if I had someone knowledgeable to help me figure out the parts that I do not understand.
11. Stanger-Hall, K. F., & Hall, D. W. (2011). Abstinence-only education and teen pregnancy rates: why we need comprehensive sex education in the US. PLoS One, 6(10), e24658.
This article uses statistics and research studies to examine the rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease in teenagers over the course of ten years during which abstinent education was the most funded and taught curriculum. One statistic emphasized is that the United States ranks first among all developed nations in both teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and that these numbers have risen steadily after ten years of abstinence teaching. When choosing information to study, material was collected from the Education Commission of the States to determine state laws on sexual education and the level of emphasis on abstinence in state laws and policies. Data on confounding factors (socio-economics, educational attainment, ethnic composition and Medicaid waivers for family planning) was collected and correlated to discover whether these factors had an effect on teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. When the data were analyzed, there was a positive correlation between abstinence education and teen pregnancy; the more emphasis on abstinence-only sexual activity, the higher the rate of teen pregnancy and STDs occurred. The authors recommend less federal spending on abstinence education and higher funding towards comprehensive sexual education to lower rates of sexual transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy. The authors also recommend that the federal government create requirements or guidelines for schools to follow so that sexual education is consistent and teachers are well trained. The hope is that these guidelines would help bring the level of negative sexual outcomes for teens down to the current rates of other developed countries. This article agrees with other papers that I have found and makes similar recommendations for successful changes. The way it is written also makes it easy to understand for me so it would make a good source for me to use. I think this article gives me a good jumping off point to frame my thesis argument and then I can use other articles to help confirm or question the data listed.
12. Weed, S. E., Ericksen, I. H., Lewis, A., Grant, G. E., & Wibberly, K. H. (2008). An abstinence program's impact on cognitive mediators and sexual initiation. American Journal of Health Behavior, 32(1), 60-73.
This article discussed the research performed by the authors into whether abstinence education for virgin seventh graders in Virginia has an effect on delaying or limiting sexual behavior. The main points of the study were to assess the impact of abstinence education programs on the initiation of sexual intercourse in teenagers and to learn more about the mechanisms that learn more about the stimuli that move adolescents to initiate sexual intercourse. The results suggest that abstinence-only education can achieve significant delay of sexual initiation in teenage participants. The data were collected in a one year evaluation of an abstinence education curriculum being used in Virginia public school systems. The program complied with the guidelines set by Title V and was taught as a nine unit course as part of the required physical/ health education classes held in participating public schools. Data collection included pre- and post self reports in which the authors paid particular attention to developing questions for optimal accuracy. This article appears to be well researched and the authors provided many useful citations; however, a few phrases throughout the document felt incendiary and stereotyped. This article clearly defined sex and discussed how the results can vary depending on how sexual activity is defined.