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Health Educ Res. 2001 Aug;16(4):481-92.

A comparative study of peer-led and adult-led school sex education.

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  • 1Department of Child Health, University of Exeter, UK.


There are, and have been, many school-based sex education projects in this country which have used peer leaders (students delivering an educational programme who are of similar, or slightly older, age than the students receiving the programme). Rigorous evaluation of the methodology remains scant. This paper describes a comparative investigation of peer-led and adult-led sex education in National Curriculum Year 9 (aged 13/14 years). The results from this study suggest that peer leaders appear to be more effective in establishing conservative norms and attitudes related to sexual behaviour than the adults. Peer leaders were less effective than adults in imparting factual information and getting students involved in classroom activities. These findings suggest that both adult-led and peer-led methods may have a place in effective sex education--the challenge being to determine which areas are best dealt with by whom.

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