An Analysis of Selected Topics in Christian Sex Education Curricula

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PROBLEM. This research identified content and methods used in 37 current Christian sex education resources to teach the topics of masturbation, contraception, homosexuality, abortion, and pre-marital sex. The analysis sought to ascertain the extent to which these topics were covered in the resources, if at all; the direction of stance taken by each resource toward each topic; the type(s) of authority cited in support of stance; the scriptural passages quoted in support of stance; the type of values education approach used, and characteristic themes comprising basic content in each of the five topics. PROCEDURE. Titles for the analysis were identified based on bibliographies by SIECUS and the National Council of Churches' Commission on Family Ministries and Human Sexuality, with a follow-up survey to check for possible omissions. The final sample consisted of materials produced by or for 1) the Commission's member groups and 2 ) the Roman Catholic Church. The investigator's judgments were subjected to tests of inter-judge reliability, resulting in overall levels of agreement of 76.0% to 94.1%. RESULTS. At least 4 of the 5 topics were covered in most (70.3%) of the resources. All of the materials discussed pre-marital sex; this topic exceeded the others in number of sentences of coverage by more than 4 times. The resources tended to be accepting of contraception by married couples (except for the Roman Catholic materials); divided on their stances toward masturbation; disapproving of premarital sex and homosexuality, and ambiguous toward abortion (again, except for the Roman Catholic materials). Scriptural references cited in support of stances derived primarily from the Old Testament and the writings of St. Paul. The type of values education approach used most frequently was "Inculcation." Almost half the resources contained information on contraceptives. CONCLUSIONS. Most of the resources contained discussion of most of the topics. Further research might explore the thoroughness and accuracy of this coverage. Recommendations are made for revision of the materials.