Adolescents' perceptions of sexual health education programs: An integrative review

J Adolesc. 2020 Oct:84:96-112. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2020.07.014. Epub 2020 Sep 4.


Introduction: Adolescents are key stakeholders in sexual health education, yet they are rarely consulted when developing sexual health programs. Their voices are integral to improving the delivery of relevant and appropriate school-based sexual health education to promote safer adolescent sexual behaviors.

Methods: An integrative review was conducted utilizing three databases: Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) Complete, PubMed, and Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). The PRISMA and matrix method were used to search the literature and synthesize the findings from 16 articles regarding adolescent perceptions of school-based sexual health education.

Results: The main themes that emerged from this review included: (a) factors influencing adolescent perceptions of sexual health education programs, (b) characteristics of good sexual health education programs, and (c) areas of improvement in sexual health education programs.

Conclusion: Adolescents overwhelmingly requested honest, comprehensive content delivered by nonjudgmental, well-educated health professionals in a comfortable environment.

Keywords: Perspectives; Sex Ed; Sexuality education; Teen; Teenager.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Schools*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexual Health / education*
  • Students / psychology*