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Chapter 19

Psychology 2075 Chapter 19: Chapter 19 textbook
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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2075
Professor
Stephen Ferguson
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 19 – Sexuality Education • Sexuality education: lifelong process of acquiring info about sexual behavior and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values about identity, relationships and intimacy Purposes of Sexuality Education • To promote healthy sexuality • SIECCAN: Sex Information and Education Council of Canada, national resource for up-to- date information, research, and publications on human sexuality, including sexual health o Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education ▪ Framework for sexual health for persons of all ages and from diverse populations that balance well-being and desires of individual w/ needs and rights of others and society ▪ Sexuality education should help people both to achieve: • positive outcomes o self-esteem, respect for self and others, non-exploitative sexual satisfaction and sexual pleasure, rewarding human relationships, joy of desired parenthood • negative outcomes o unwanted pregnancy, STIs, sexual coercion, and sexual dysfunction • effective sexual health education integrates 4 key components through variety of activities, allowing individuals to develop: o deeper understanding that is relevant to their specific health needs and concerns o confidence, motivation, and personal insight needed to act on that knowledge o skills necessary to enhance sexual health and to avoid negative sexual health outcomes o safe, secure, and inclusive environment that is conducive to promoting optimal sexual health • research in New Brunswick: abstinence means different things to different people • Sexuality Information and Education Council of US – developed specific standards for comprehensive and responsible sexuality education in their document, identifying seven topics as minimum, essential content: o Anatomy and physiology o Puberty and adolescent development o Identity o Pregnancy and reproduction o STIs and HIV o Healthy relationships o Personal safety Home, School, or Somewhere Else • School is main source of sexuality education for grade 9 students in Canada • More than 50% of students grades 7-12 report they have searched for health info online • Study: 177 sites – 46% contraception and 35% abortion contained inaccurate info • New Brunswick study: 95% parents felt that responsibility for sexual health education should be shared by parents and schools o 77% high school students and 69% middle-school students shared this view • students receiving classroom instruction plus homework to do w/ parents felt more able to refuse high-risk behaviors and more often intended to delay initiation of intercourse compared w/ students receiving only classroom instruction • 4 New Brunswick studies: 24% middle school students and 38% parents think children are getting very good sex education at home o 13% high school students and 37% middle-school students rated sexual health education they had received in school as very good or excellent • Nova Scotia and BC study: 40 rural and urban youths interviewed about sexual experiences and sexual health education o Youth indicated that neither school or parents promoted discussions about sex, perceiving that both sexual health education and discussion w/ parents focused on prevention of pregnancy and STIs What to Teach at Different Ages Children’s Sexual Knowledge • By age 7/8, children may know three things involved in making a baby: o social relationship b/w two people, such as love or marriage o sexual activity o union of sperm and egg • age 12 – good physiological explanation of reproduction that includes idea that embryo begins its biological existence at moment of conception and is product of genetic material from both parents Children’s Sexual Interests • high school students agree that sex education should begin in early elementary school and should progress from simple to complex, covering topics such as reproduction, pregnancy, abortion, birth control options, disease prevention, sexual violence, relationships and gender roles, sexual pleasure, sexual orientation and attraction, and sexual decision making • want sexual health education that talks more about sex-feelings, arousal, foreplay, contraception, condoms, weighing alternatives, healthy relationships, sexual pleasure, sexual communication • Study of 147 2-6 year olds in US o Sexual knowledge evolves during preschool years o 2 years – can identify sex of others and use slang to refer to genitals o 3 years – explain gender differences using cultural characteristics (clothing, earrings) o 5 years – explain gender identity based on genital differences o 6 years – knowledge of vaginal or Caesarian birth • analysis of questions emailed to reproductive health website – 23% of questions involved misconceptions about reproduction o b/c of poor sex education and confusing media messages Attitudes towards School-Based Sexuality Education • Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick survey: very high levels of support for sex education in schools among parents, teachers and students • New Brunswick survey of parents, teachers, middle-school and high school students: o All four groups strongly supported sexual health education in schools – 90% + sexual health education should be provided in schools o In favor of broadly based curriculum that covers topics such as: HIV/AIDS and other STIS, sexual decision making, sexual communication, sexual assault, birth control, abortion and homosexuality • Media regularly publicizing cases in which parents protesting sex education in schools: o Rare – majority of schools w/ sex education programs have not experienced issues o Protesters are usually in a minority o Controversy not over existence of program, but over curriculum, book or video The Curriculum • w/ exception of Quebec, all Canadian provinces and territories have, as part of their health programs, province-wide, school-based sexual health curricula • 2005, Quebec changed its health curriculum, and removed sexual health education and were told to incorporate into other subjects • Toronto’s Human Sexuality Program developed in 1985 after fatal beating of gay student – provides classroom presentations on sexual-minority issues • Conservative Citizens Research Institute developed pamphlet to help parents demand that children not be exposed to and/or involved in any activity or program which: discusses or portrays lifestyle of gays, lesbians, bisexual and/or transgendered individuals as one which is normal, acceptable or must be tolerated o Do not represent majority – most Canadian parents, teachers and students want sexual orientation included in sex education programs Early Sex Education • Programs concerned w/ transmission of knowledge • Goal of programs to reduce number of teen pregnancies, emphasis on teaching students about sexual intercourse, pregnancy and birth control, and consequences of having baby • Programs were not effective and reducing teen pregnancy or sexual risk-taking behavior HIV/AIDS Risk Education • 1990s, focus of sex education shifted from pregnancy prevention to HIV/AIDS and other STIs • Canada (except Quebec) have school-based programs that include info about HIV/AIDS • 99%+ Canadian parents approve of HIV/AIDS education in schools • removing myths about HIV/AIDS and other STIs, encouraging delay of sexual intercourse, and supporting condom use or abstinence from unprotected intercourse • improved knowledge significantly, positive changes in respondents’ intentions to use condoms • ex: HIV/AIDS education program in Canadian schools - 20-hour Skills for Health Relationships o developed jointly by federal and provincial governments o designed for grade 9 students o includes components aimed delaying sexual activity, increasing condom use, creating compassion for persons living w/ HIV/AIDS, combating homonegativity, and improving communications and negotiating skills o based on theoretical model that includes acquiring knowledge, developing responsible attitudes, increasing motivation and developing skills o uses students as peer-group leaders and encourages parental involvement o vs. regular program – students gained significantly in knowledge, became more positive in their attitudes toward people living w/ HIV/AIDS, increased their intentions to communicate assertively in sexual situations, and improved their skills in being able to use condoms correctly o program did not affect likelihood that students would engage in sexual intercourse or use condom when they did engage • Canadian Youth Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS study found that students in 2002 had less knowledge about HIV/AIDS than students who participated in 1989 Canada Youth and AIDS study o b/c of decreased focus on disease in schools and in media Abstinence-Only Programs • programs that promote sexual abstinence until marriage as sole means of preventing pregnancy and exposure to STIs • sexual diversity not accepted or respected • neither federal nor provincial governments in Canada have supported development or implementation of abstinence-only sexuality education in schools • Sex Respect Program o Designed for middle-school students o Students take chastity pledge o Teaches that condoms can be rad to ruin b/c many fail, resulting in pregnancy o Gender-role stereotypes – characterize boys as sexual aggressors and girls as virginity protectors o Presents two-parent heterosexual couple as sole model of healthy real family o Omits important topics such as sexual anatomy, sexual physiology, sexual response, contraception and abortion • Teen Aid Program o 1992 – taught to more than 20,000 students in 203 Saskatchewan schools, o schools paid $150-$250/day to Teen Aid Organization for it to offer program o offered in community, by church groups • review of 52 evaluations: these programs do not delay onset of sexual activity or reduce percentage of students having sex, getting pregnant, or acquiring an STI • programs not effective at delating intercourse or reducing rates of teenage pregnancy o data indicate that emphasis on abstinence-only curricula associated w/ higher teen pregnancy rates o put youth at greater risk when they do start having sex, b/c less likely to use condoms Comprehensive, Theoretically Based Programs • newest programs are comprehensive and explicitly based on social science theories of health promotion, including social inoculation theory, social learning theory, information-motivation-behavioral skills approach, and health belief model • Social inoculation theory: proposes that people are better able to resist social pressure when they recognize pressure, are motivated to resist it, and have rehearsed resisting it o Discussion of social pressures to engage in sex, and ways to resist these influences • Social learning theory: emphasizes importance of practising new skills that can be easily translated into behavior, so these curricula increase rehearsal and role-playing activities • Information-motivation-behavioral skills model: emphasizes importance of health- related information and enhances both sills and motivation to use those skills • Health belief model: includes attitudes, expectations, and self-efficacy – confidence that one can enact needed behaviors • 2.8% Canadian teens became pregnant in 2010, sharp increases in rates of STIs among 15-24 years, and increasing rate of HIV infection in adolescents • review of effectiveness of school-based programs in US, identifying 6 characteristics associated w/ delating initiation of intercourse, reducing frequency of intercourse, reducing number of sexual partners, and increasing use of condoms and other contraceptives o effective programs focus on reducing risk-taking behavior ▪ small number of specific goals ▪ do not emphasize general issues, such as gender equality and dating o effective programs are based on theories of social learning ▪ program must increase knowledge, elicit or increase motivation to protect oneself, demonstrate that specific behaviors will protect person, and teach person how to use those behaviors effectively o effective programs teach through experimental activities that personalize messages ▪ avoid lectures and videos ▪ use small-group discussions, simulation and games, role playing, rehearsal ▪ rely on peer educators o effective programs address media and other social influences that encourage sexual risk-taking behaviors o effective programs reinforce clear and appropriate values ▪ emphasize values of postponing sex and avoiding unprotected sex and high-risk partners ▪ values and norms must be tailored to target population • different programs needed for middle-school students, white middle-class high school students, and for ethnic-minority-group high school students o effective programs enhance communication skills • review of impact of 55 curriculum-based programs o 2/3 of programs that emphasize condoms and contraceptives as well as abstinence had positive effects o more likely to delay initiation of sexual activity, reduce sexual activity and increase condom or contraceptive use • review of effectiveness of sexuality education programs by UN Program on HIV/AIDs, w/ data from Mexico, France, Thailand, and US – 53 studies that measured impact of education programs on behavior o 3 studies – increase in sexual behavior following a program o 21 studies – program delayed initiation of sexual activity, led to reduction in number of partners, or reduced rates of unwanted pregnancy and STIs Condom Distribution • 1989, one high school in Ottawa and two on Vancouver Island first to install condom vending machines • data indicate widespread support in Canada for distribution of condoms in schools • study comparing students in Massachusetts high schools that did and did not have such programs: o students in schools w/ condoms available were less likely to report having ever had intercourse and less likely to report recent intercourse o sexually active students in schools that made condoms available were 2x as likely to use condoms • research: condom distribution programs associated w/ reductions in teenage pregnancies and abortions o ex: making condoms available through specialized health units in high school in one county in rural Ontario resulted in 21% drop in pregnancy rate and 11% drop in number of abortions among teenagers ages 18 and younger Sexual Diversity • likely that in every classroom there are at least one or two gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students • study: LGB youth in Ontario – perceived that sex education they received neglected them and their experiences • important that sex education address heterosexism, heteronegativity, transphobia, and discrimination on basis of sexual orientation and gender identity o 2005 B.C. Court of Appeal – schools have duty to take strong action to address homonegativity to ensure that no students experience discrimination and harassment at school • Changes need: o Sex education needs to include discussion of sexual orientation, including being gay, bisexual and transgender o LGBT students need to see themselves represented throughout curriculum o Schools need to be supportive of LGBT teachers so that these teachers can serve as respected role models for LGBT and questioning students o All schools need to be proactive in establishing gay-positive environment ▪ Gay-straight alliance clubs: school-based clubs run by students and supported by teachers that work to create safe, caring and inclusive environment for LGBT students o Schools must have clear policies that protect students from discrimination on basis of sexual orientation The Teacher • Two essential qualifications: o Person must be educated about sexuality o He/she must be comfortable and skillful in interacting w/ learners about sexual
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