Date of Award

12-14-2015

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Health Promotion, Education and Behavior

First Advisor

Sara J. Corwin

Second Advisor

Alyssa G. Robillard

Abstract

A statewide random-digit dialed telephone survey was administered to residents of a historically conservative southern state to 1) assess the level of support for comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in public schools, 2) assess the support for availability to condoms and contraception as an effective strategy for reducing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted (STIs) among adolescents and 3) assess the perceived view of reproductive health as a moral or public health issue. Survey data were obtained from 841 South Carolina residents May through June 2013. Findings from the study revealed that the majority (90%) of South Carolina residents support CSE in public schools, and 71% support access to birth control and condoms as an effective strategy for decreasing pregnancies and STIs among adolescents. Data were analyzed to determine characteristics of the population in support of CSE and adolescent availabilty to condoms and contraception as a prevention strategy to reduce pregnancies and STIs. Results demonstrated that the largest percentage (33%) of respondents viewed the issue of reproductive health as a moral issue instead of a public health. These research findings underscore the importance of health promotion strategies to inform the general public on the effectiveness of CSE and increasing access to reliable forms of contraception for sexually active adolescents. Using data-driven health promotion strategies to educate the general public about the effectiveness of these strategies can influence the level of support for these strategies and ultimately impact policies that will help to decrease the rates of unplanned pregnancy among adolescents.

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