Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Nursing


Family/Community Health

Committee Chair

Ilana Chertok


Background Sexual activity among adolescents can have lifelong consequences including teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS), reported 13.8% of high school students grades 9-12 admitted to having intercourse with four or more people and 34.2% report being sexually active (CDC, 2010b). Baltimore City has disproportionately high rates related to teen pregnancy, chlamydia and gonorrhea when compared to national statistics. In 2006, the rate of teen births among girls ages 15-19 in Baltimore City was 66.4 per 1,000, compared to Maryland's teen birth rate of 34.4 per 1,000 (Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), 2007). Baltimore City's rates were also higher than the national teen pregnancy birth rate of 42.5 per 1,000 (CDC, 2010). Objectives The purpose of this project was to assess the effectiveness of comprehensive sexual education program among Baltimore City high school students. The primary goals of the program were to increase sexual self-efficacy, the knowledge of risks associated with sexual activity, and the use of contraceptives that decrease pregnancy and STIs following a 16 lesson intervention. Design The Reducing the Risk comprehensive sexual education program was taught bi-weekly. This study used a one group pretest-posttest quasi experimental design. There were three instruments used to measure effectiveness. The first was the Reducing the Risk Knowledge Survey, the second was the CDC 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and the third was the Teen Attitude Pregnancy Scale (TAPS). The participants were 12th grade students attending a high school in Baltimore city, Maryland. Results A statistically significant difference was present in the knowledge score from the preintervention phase to the postintervention of 14.1+2.7 (t=-5.854, df = 36, p<0.001) and self efficacy pretest scores of 13.3+3.5 to the posttest score of 16.5+3.1 (t=-4.9, df=36, p<0.001). No significant change was noted however in contraceptive use. Conclusion A comprehensive sexual education program can be effective at increasing the knowledge of risks associated with sexual behavior and sexual self efficacy.