Evaluation of a church-based sexuality program for adolescents
Powell, Mary Lane
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The purpose of the study was to design, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of a short-term sexuality program for high school church youth. An experimental/control group, pretest-posttest design assessed the effects of treatment, as an independent variable, on three dependent variables thought to be important to responsible and positive sexual decision-making: self-esteem, sex information, and clarity of personal sexual values. Three hypotheses v/ere generated to predict significant change in the experimental group's posttest scores following treatment, when compared with the no-treatment control group. Analysis of covariance, with pretest scores as the covariate, was used to test the hypotheses. Two hypotheses were strongly supported. Scores on sex information and clarity of personal sexual values were significantly different than control group scores at posttest. Self-esteem scores of the experimental group also approached significance at posttest. A fourth hypothesis examined one factor that is thought to influence adolescent responsiveness to sexuality programs: the factor of cognitive readiness. The socio-cognitive phenomenon of egocentrism was hypothesized to present a barrier to effective sex education by distorting the adolescent's perception of personal responsibility and probable consequences of sexual behavior. If this is true, adolescents who have low egocentrism and high self-focus (i.e., mature self-focus) should respond more positively to sex education programs. Using experimental group subjects only, analysis of covariance examined the effects of mature self-focus on the dependent variables of self-esteem and clarity of personal sexual values. Those with mature self-focus did score significantly higher at posttest on self-esteem than those who did not possess mature self-focus. No significant difference in scores on clarity of personal sexual values was found. Implications for further research include the need for follow-up evaluation to test long-term retention of program results. Additional evaluation using other church youth populations would also enhance generalizability.