Publication Date


Degree Program

School of Nursing

Degree Type

Master of Science in Nursing


Due to the teenage pregnancy rates and the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that exist in today's society, it is very important for teenagers to be informed of the facts related to pregnancy and STDs and how to prevent them from occurring. With this knowledge, they are able to make informed decisions related to their sexual experiences. The prime opportunity for such sharing of information can be in schools. The purpose of this study is to determine if sex education in school influences the knowledge and behaviors of teenagers toward sexual behavior, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases. This research used the framework of the Health Belief model developed by Nola Pender. A pretest/ posttest design was used. A questionnaire, developed by the investigator, was administered prior to an educational program and then again three months later. A convenience sample of 31 high school students in a family dynamics course was utilized after informed consent was obtained from the student and parents. The subjects ranged in age from 14 to 18 years and consisted of 25 females and 6 males. According to the pretest data obtained from the subjects, over half of the participants obtained most of the sexual information from their friends. Only 19.4% (6) of the students reported learning about sexual matters from school. The same percentage of 19.4% reported TV/Movies as their major source of information related to sexual matters. Twenty-three (74.2%) of the subjects claimed to have already had sexual intercourse. The average age at which the sexually active participants started having sex was 14 years old, with a range of 9 to 17 years of age. Participants reported having an average of 4 different sexual partners. Of those reporting whether or not they used condoms, 14 answered "yes" and 10 answered "no." The 14 item questionnaire was administered again three months after the intervention to determine any change in knowledge. Four of the items showed a statistically significant increase in the knowledge of the participants when analyzed by paired sample t-tests using an alpha level < 0.05. Although only four of the items demonstrated a significant increase in knowledge from pretest to posttest, these data, coupled with the subjects' reported behaviors, indicates a great need for factual sex education in this teenage population.


Nursing | Public Health