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Eur J Public Health. 2018 Apr 1;28(2):309-314. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckx203.

School practices important for students' sexual health: analysis of the school health research network survey in Wales.

Author information

1
Department of Social Sciences, DECIPHer, UKCRC Centre of Excellence, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.
2
Department of Social Sciences, Y Lab, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.

Abstract

Background:

This study investigates how the sexual health outcomes of a representative sample of students aged 15-16 in Wales vary according to the person delivering Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools, students' access to on-site sexual health services and access to free condoms.

Methods:

Cross-sectional, self-report survey data were collected from students who participated in the 2015/16 School Health Research Network questionnaire in Wales. Data were analyzed from 59 schools, totalling 3781 students aged 15-16 (M = 15.7; SD = 0.3) who responded to questions about ever having had sex; age of sexual initiation and condom use at last intercourse. School level data were also collected, examining who delivers school SRE, provision of on-site, school 'drop-in' sexual health services and provision of free condoms for students. Binary and linear multi-level analyses explored the relationship between school level predictors and sexual health outcomes.

Results:

Compared to teachers, other modes of SRE delivery were associated with better sexual health outcomes, including remaining sexually inactive, later age of first intercourse and condom use. Providing on-site sexual health services did not significantly reduce the odds of having ever had sex or delaying first intercourse; but was associated with increased condom use. On-site condom provision was associated with lower condom use.

Conclusions:

SRE delivery by educators other than teachers is optimum to young people's sexual health outcomes. Further funding and coordination of on-site sexual health advice services are required. Longitudinal research is needed to identify the temporal sequence of sexual health practices and outcomes.

PMID:
29161403
DOI:
10.1093/eurpub/ckx203

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