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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2018 Abstracts

Understanding Parental Attitudes toward Abstinence Based and Comprehensive based Sexual Health Topics in Northern Utah

Laura Pastrana; Alyson Rasmussen; Ellen Seely; Jeralyn Perkins, Weber State University

There are only two types of sexual education programs that are taught in the United States, comprehensive sexual education and abstinence-only until marriage programs (Steadman, Crookston, Randy, & Hall, 2014). These are state mandated programs and withoutspecial consent it is illegal for health teachers to teach anything other than the state mandated curriculum (Steadman, et al., 2014). Utah state law only allows a discussion of contraception use with parental approval and is up to the local school board if that can even be offered (Steadman, et al., 2014). If condoms and contraception are discussed amongst students, teachers are not allowed to explain how to use and or promote condoms or contraception even among students who engage in sexual behaviors in the state of Utah.The current study is looking at the possible discrepancy between what is currently being taught in public schools regarding sexual education and what parents would prefer to be taught. We are working with a small urban city Health Department to administer a cross-sectional social survey to the parents in two counties of Northern Utah. The survey will assist in gaining a better understanding of the knowledge, opinions, and attitudes of current practices but also parental opinions of different evidence based opt-in options as well. We anticipate that the survey results will express parents wanting a more comprehensive form of sexual education for their children rather than an abstinence based program. The finding from this project will be used to influence policy changes and improve sexual health education in Utah and other states as well.