Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

State Policy on School-based Sex Education: A Content Analysis Focused on Sexual Behaviors, Relationships, and Identities

Buy Article:

$40.34 + tax (Refund Policy)

Objectives: Adolescents in the United States face crucial sexual health behavior issues, including consequences of sexually transmitted infections and diseases, pregnancy, and sexual violence. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth are disproportionately affected by these issues. State policies about sex education in K-12 schools shape what is taught to students about sexual health. In this study, we analyzed the content of school-based sex education policies of all 50 states and focuses on sexual behaviors, relationships, and identities. Methods: Policies analyzed include state statutes, state board of education policies, and state department of education or public instruction curriculum standards. Data were analyzed using content analysis. Results: Most state policies emphasized abstinence from sexual behavior and did not require education about contraceptive and barrier methods. Few policies required detailed information about contraceptive and barrier methods to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Around half of states addressed relationship issues (ie, healthy relationships, sexual decision-making, and sexual violence); however, few states required content on communication about sexual consent. Eight state policies explicitly stigmatized homosexuality. Conversely, 12 states were inclusive of diverse sexual orientations and 7 states were inclusive of diverse gender identities. Conclusion: Sex education policies should be evidence-based and inclusive of sexual diversity.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Review Board
  • Reprints and Permissions
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more