Date of Completion

Spring 4-25-2023

Thesis Advisor(s)

Felicia Pratto

Honors Major

Psychological Sciences


Gender and Sexuality | Health and Physical Education | Inequality and Stratification | Maternal and Child Health | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Health | Women's Health


Sexual health education has long been evolving, and while a mountain of research has built a compelling case for continuing its improvement, the authors of the present paper were interested in evaluating the efficacy of state education standards in 2009, 2014, and 2019 on a multitude of sexual health outcomes in 2019. We concluded that throughout all three years, states with higher educational requirements could in fact produce better health outcomes, but those outcomes were heavily targeting delaying pregnancy. The educational requirements appeared to have neglected all other aspects of sexual health, including STD prevention, even though STD-based education was more influential than sex-based education. In addition, we identified a substantial number of state variables that could potentially be interfering with education efforts to a significant extent. Overall, we urge states to upgrade their requirements to reflect pre-existing national comprehensive educational standards and promote a more sex-positive environment.