Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Brent C. Miller


Brent C. Miller


There is a large amount of evidence suggesting a need to educate children concerning sexual issues. The extent of adolescent pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and the spread of AIDS are all indicators of the lack of appropriate education. In view of these social concerns, along with the controversy concerning sex education taught in school, it would seem to be helpful if parents provided more adequate sex education. Parents are a primary source of sex education for their children, but many parents lack knowledge and feel inadequate in this role. Without appropriate sex education, children turn to other sources for answers to their sexual questions. These sources can provide false and sometimes harmful information to children.

One hundred and seventy parents from Cache Valley, Utah, were interviewed over the phone to ascertain their views regarding sex education for their children. Parental adequacy as sex educators, ages and places parents would prefer their children be taught sexual issues, and content areas and materials parents would find most useful in teaching sex education were all evaluated. The results indicate that participants view themselves as better sex educators than their parents were. Overall parents prefer that sexual anatomy be taught at the youngest age and birth control at the latest age. Parents also prefer that sexual topics should be taught in the home, and many feel comfortable with sexual issues being taught both at home and at school. Parents prefer that topics including "everything," factual information, abstinence, and sex as positive should be included within a sex education program. On the other hand, they prefer that explicit or graphic materials, birth control, and sex as negative should not be included within a sex education program. They would also prefer a program in the home utilizing a combination of print and video materials.