Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Abstinence-Only Sex Education In Preventing Teen Pregnancy
Teen pregnancy is an issue that continues to threaten and be discussed within our nation’s educational, political, and public health institutions. Compared to other modern nations in the world, the United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). Adolescents spend much of their time in the school setting, making sexual health education integration into the school health curriculum a natural way to help combat this problem (Tyler, Warner, Gavin, & Barfield, 2014). This brings up the question of what type of sexual health education is most effective in preventing teen pregnancy: abstinence only or comprehensive sexual health education programs. Abstinence only programs consist of teaching abstinence as the only significant method of preventing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STDs) (Kohler, Manhart, & Lafferty, 2008). Comprehensive sexual health programs still focus on abstinence, but also offer education and prevention options on STDs and pregnancy, as well as the importance of safe sexual practices (Kohler et al., 2008). The purpose of this Evidence Based Practice Brief is to explore how effective these types of sexual health education are on pregnancy outcomes. The results of this brief may provide insight to which type of sexual health education program would be most effective when taught in schools. Nurses caring for adolescent patients can use this information to identify sexual health problems, risks, and education gaps that may be present, and provide awareness to potential interventions.