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Rural Community Sex Education: What does the Literature Tell Us About Evidence- Based Programming and Practices?

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Brittany Hansen

Background: Adolescence is an important time in life where youth establish health behaviors that persist as they age (Wiium, Breivik, & Wold, 2015). Some adolescents engage in risky health behaviors, such as participating in unprotected sexual activity (e.g., Amma & Martinez, 2017), which is associated with an increased (CDC), 2020). School (e.g., Daley et al., 2019) and community-based prevention programming (e.g., Cornelius et al., 2013) are ways to address risk-taking behaviors. As of 2018, the Utah State Board of Education requires ""instruction in: community and personal health, physiology, personal hygiene, prevention of communicable disease, refusal skills, and the harmful effects of pornography"" in a health classroom setting (Utah State Board of Education, 24 Jan 2018). However, Utah statute only requires that local education agencies adopt a curriculum of these skills or less. This is especially problematic as results from a recent study found that youth would like more sex education (Meier et al., 2022). Community sex education provides an opportunity to meet the needs of youth, however anecdotal information from the Utah Department of Health suggests that there are large gaps in community sex education-especially among rural areas. USU Extension is uniquely situated to provide community sex education as they operate in all 29 counties. However, there is no sex education programming being provided by USU Extension at this time. Purpose: The purpose of this project was to conduct a comprehensive review of the community sex education literature to identify: (a) programs being used in rural communities; (b) brief intervention strategies that are supported by evidence; and (c) topics or preferred types of information to include in rural community sex education. Method: To examine the areas above, a systematic and comprehensive review of the literature was conducted utilizing the following search terms: (a) community sex education programs/practices; (b) effective community-based sex education; (c) sex education in rural school/communities; (d) sex education brief interventions; and (d) best practices for brief interventions in sex education. Results: The results of the comprehensive literature review fell within three areas. The first was sex education practices and included cultural competency, community trust building and partnerships, role playing, use of social learning theory, parent education and inclusion, counseling, and the use of peer educators. The second area was sex education content which included decision making, contraceptives, communication, peer pressure, and sense of self/self-confidence. Finally, the third area was brief interventions and included impacts of using a brief intervention strategy and examples of programming. Implications: This project has potential to impact the future of community sex education programming. These findings can be used to create more comprehensive courses for youth in rural communities.
University / Institution: Utah State University
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #C65
SESSION C (1:45-3:15PM)
Area of Research: Social Work
Faculty Mentor: Cris Meier