August 9th, 2022

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Satisfaction with Sex Education in New Mexico High Schools: A Survey of College Students
Authors:  Meredith Barlow, M.D., Eve Espey, M.D., M.P.H., Lawrence Leeman, M.D., M.P.H., Ariel Scott, M.D., Tony Ogburn, M.D., and Rameet Singh, M.D., M.P.H.
  OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the perceived quality of and satisfaction with sex education among University of New Mexico (UNM) college students.

STUDY DESIGN: Survey methods utilized with 1821- year-old UNM freshmen and sophomores who graduated from a New Mexico high school. The survey included questions about type of sex education, satisfaction with sex education (on a 5-point Likert scale), and impact on sexual decision-making and was emailed to participants.

RESULTS: A total of 9,866 surveys were emailed; 2,441 were returned (response rate=24.7%); 415 did not attend high school in New Mexico, leaving 2,024 surveys in the analytic sample. Comprehensive sex education received higher ratings than abstinence-only or no sex education (3.290.03 vs. 2.530.07 vs. 1.87 0.08, respectively, p<0.0001). More students receiving comprehensive sex education than abstinence-only education reported improved ability to make decisions about sexual initiation (66.6% vs. 54.0%; p=0.0005), pregnancy prevention (92.7% vs. 72.9%; p<0.0001), sexually transmitted infection prevention (92.5% vs. 70.4%; p<0.0001), and avoidance of unwanted sex (77.6% vs. 65.8%; p=0.0003).

CONCLUSION: New Mexico college students were more satisfied with comprehensive sex education in high school. New Mexico should consider establishing a state requirement for comprehensive sex education.
Keywords:  birth control; contraception; pregnancy in adolescence; schools, secondary; sex education; sexual abstinence; teenage pregnancy
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