University of Mississippi Students’ Opinions Regarding Sex Education in Mississippi

Austin, Cody (2017) University of Mississippi Students’ Opinions Regarding Sex Education in Mississippi. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Melissa Bass from Public Policy Leadership, The University of Mississippi.

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The main purpose of this study is to understand the opinions of University of Mississippi (UM) students regarding sex education policies in Mississippi public schools. Utilizing empirical, quantitative data collected from an online, IRB-approved survey of the UM student body, the study aimed to answer four main research questions that relate to sex education policymaking. The first question asked how sexually active UM students are. The data revealed that most UM students are sexually active, which suggests college students need to have adequate sexual health information by the time they enter college. The second question asked how satisfied UM students were with the sex education they received and compared in-state and out-of-state UM students’ experiences with sex education. The data suggests that students were more likely to be satisfied with comprehensive sex education. Furthermore, out-of-state students were more likely to have had sex education than in-state students and more likely to have received comprehensive sex education, specifically. The third research question measured UM students’ opinions on sex education policies in Mississippi public schools, the primary question of this study. Similar to Mississippi parents surveyed in 2011, nearly all UM students (97.1%) favored teaching sex education in Mississippi public schools, and the overwhelming majority supported elements of comprehensive sex education over other types of curricula. In addition, many UM students opposed the current requirements of Mississippi’s sex education law as well as the primary role played by state legislators in determining specific content requirements. The final research question asked about UM students’ political views as well as their levels of political engagement. While UM students are more conservative than college students nationally, their political ideology had no effect on their support for comprehensive sex education. Also, while UM students are about as politically active as college students nationally, they will likely need to increase their levels of political engagement in order to translate their policy preferences into law. From these results, I recommend that state legislators should yield much of their control over sex education policy and that policymakers at all levels should increase access to comprehensive sex education for Mississippi public school students.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Austin, Cody
Student's Degree Program(s): B.A. in Public Policy Leadership
Thesis Advisor: Melissa Bass
Thesis Advisor's Department: Public Policy Leadership
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Depositing User: Cody Austin
Date Deposited: 22 May 2017 16:35
Last Modified: 22 May 2017 16:35

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