Sex Education: Broadening the Definition of Relevant Outcomes

Leslie M. Kantor, Rutgers University Laura D. Lindberg, Rutgers School of Public Health Yara Tashkandi Jennifer S. Hirsch John S. Santelli, Guttmacher Institute

First published on Journal of Adolescent Health:

Abstract / Summary


Substantial evidence exists for the efficacy and effectiveness of comprehensive sex education (CSE) in positively influencing behaviors related to preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including delaying sexual intercourse, increasing contraception and condom use, and reducing the frequency of sex and number of partners. The scientific evidence also provides ample assurance that sex education does not have negative outcomes. The value of systematically gathering evidence about effective sex education programs is exemplified by two pioneering reports by Dr. Douglas Kirby, No Easy Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. These reports illuminated the common characteristics across effective programs and subsequently influenced the development of a new, more scientifically informed set of curricula and interventions Goldfarb and Lieberman's new review, Three Decades of Research: The Case for Comprehensive Sex Education build on this legacy. 


United States