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J Sch Health. 2013 Nov;83(11):810-7. doi: 10.1111/josh.12098.

Family homework and school-based sex education: delaying early adolescents' sexual behavior.

Author information

1
Research Scientist, (jgrossma@wellesley.edu), Cheever House/Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02481.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Early sexual activity can undermine adolescents' future school success and health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to assess the role of a family homework component of a comprehensive sex education intervention in delaying sexual initiation for early adolescents and to explore what social and contextual factors prevent adolescents from completing these family homework activities.

METHODS:

This mixed methods study included 6th- and 7th-grade survey responses from 706 students at 11 middle school schools receiving a sex education intervention, as well as interviews from a subset of 33, 7th-grade students from the larger sample.

RESULTS:

Adolescents who completed more family homework assignments were less likely to have vaginal intercourse in 7th grade than those who completed fewer assignments, after controlling for self-reports of having had vaginal intercourse in 6th grade and demographic variables. Participants' explanations for not completing assignments included personal, curriculum, and family-based reasons.

CONCLUSIONS:

Family homework activities designed to increase family communication about sexual issues can delay sex among early adolescents and contribute to school-based sex education programs. Successful sex education programs must identify and address barriers to family homework completion.

KEYWORDS:

homework; middle school; sex education

PMID:
24138352
DOI:
10.1111/josh.12098
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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