Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Catherine W. Howard


Parental involvement is assumed to be an important component of successful school-based family life education programs. Historically, however, parents have been described as uninvolved in their adolescents’ sexuality education. Few data exist that explain either parents’ non-involvement or adolescents’ perceptions of parents as resources to support healthy sexual development. Existing research adopts a narrow, social control perspective on adolescent sexuality and on evaluation of community-based sexuality education programs. Given the increasing numbers of school-based family life education programs and of national organizations encouraging parental involvement components in preventive programs, empirical research on the interface of school and home-based sexuality education is needed.

This exploratory study, based on the ecological developmental model of Bronfenbrenner (1977, 1986), describes eighth graders’ perceptions of an existing school-based sexuality education program and of parents as resources for problem solving and sex-specific information. Early adolescents report that these programs increase comfort when talking with parents, but not frequency of talking. Subgroup differences on race, gender, family structure, and dating status, but not age, mediate reports on program effectiveness and perception of parents as a resource. More attention must be given to differences within age-graded groups.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Included in

Psychology Commons