ERIC Number: ED200496
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr-1
American Public Opinion Toward Sex Education and Contraception for Teenagers.
Reichelt, Paul A.
A study was undertaken to determine American attitudes toward sex education and contraceptive services to adolescents and toward the related topics of teenage pregnancy and related welfare and medical costs. The study was based on the premise that policy decisions regarding whether to offer sex education and contraceptive services to adolescents are influenced by policy makers' conceptions of public opinion. The method used was to integrate all available data on American public opinion toward sex education and birth control for teenagers and to relate findings from an analysis of the resulting data compilation to educational and public health policy at different time periods from 1943 to 1980. Data consisted of previous research studies in the fields of social science, medicine, and public health and of surveys by the American Institute of Public Opinion (the Gallup Organization). Several difficulties were encountered in interpreting data from different sources and time periods, including that questions asked at one time were neither parallel nor similar to questions asked at another period. In spite of the difficulties, however, findings indicated several clear trends. Most important among these findings are that a solid majority of the public has always been in favor of sex education for teenagers; that, recently, the public is overwhelmingly in favor of providing birth control information as part of this education; and that there has been a generally upward trend in approval of providing birth control for teenagers. The conclusion is that current policy concerning sex education and adolescent birth control is much more conservative than public opinion and that provision of more and better contraceptive services and sex education to teenagers would be supported by the American public. (DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Orthopsychiatric Association (58th, New York, NY, March 28-April 1, 1981).